Graham-Cassidy Is Likely Dead Now That There Are 3 Hard No Votes Against It
Barring a last-minute change of heart, the final attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), died at 6:14 p.m. Monday, September 25th, 20017. This comes after seven years of the Republicans telling voters they were going to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Last night at 6:14 p.m. is when Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), joined Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), as the third no vote on the bill being offered by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.). Here is a copy of the bill for you to review if you wish.
The Republican’s hold a 52-48 margin over the Democrats, in the upper chamber and GOP led, Senate, is attempting to get repeal and replace Obamacare done through the budgetary process of RECONCILIATION, that allows a bill to be passed by a simple 51 vote majority but the deadline is Saturday, September 30th, 2017 at midnight. At that point, RECONCILIATION will no longer be an option.
At that point, RECONCILIATION will no longer be an option this year and it could not be used again until 2019. There is an outside chance that the GOP could hook healthcare to a budget or even a tax bill but in either case it would likely fail again.
In a long, a detailed explanation Sen. Collins pointed out her objection to the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“Sweeping reforms to our health care system and to Medicaid can’t be done well in a compressed time frame, especially when the actual bill is a moving target,” said Collins, one of three Republicans along with McCain and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) to vote “no” on a previous slimmed-down Obamacare repeal bill in July that appeared to end the debate.
“This is simply not the way we should be approaching an important and complex issue that must be handled thoughtfully and fairly for all Americans.”
Collins statement followed the lead of McCain who called for a complete bi-partisan health care bill done through regular order.
That means a bill would go through committee hearings, testimony from all the key players in the healthcare industry, including patients, and finally, a 60 vote threshold to pass the legislation.
We now know that there are three hard no votes but there could be more as at the moment both Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Lee (R-UT) are leaning no at this point.
According to Politico, Sen. Graham (R-S.C.), the namesake of the GOP’s latest repeal effort which is now opposed by at least three Republican senators, has already vowed to vote against a budget resolution that doesn’t allow for the healthcare battle to go on. So has Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), another lead backer of the Graham-Cassidy bill. With just 52 GOP senators, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can only afford two defections on a budget measure.
The more acute problem for Senate GOP leadership is that both Graham and Johnson sit on the Senate Budget Committee, where Republicans hold just a one-seat majority. If Graham and Johnson both follow through on their threat, they would tank next year’s budget measure — and tax reform — even before it hits the Senate floor.
“My preference obviously would be to pass [Obamacare repeal] this week,” Johnson said. “But if that’s not the case, I agree with Sen. Graham. We’re both on the Budget Committee and we’ll insist on passing a budget that would have reconciliation instructions for both tax reform and health care reform.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) who had begun bi-partisan efforts to fix the Obamacare problems are likely to pick things up where left off before the Graham-Cassidy bill took up the GOP focus.
The goal of the duo was to stabilize 2018 premiums in the individual health insurance market that we could take to Senate leaders by the end of the month. But Speaker of the House made it clear that any bi-partisan bill would go nowhere in the House till after Graham – Cassidy was voted on.
“During the last month, we have worked hard and in good faith, but have not found the necessary consensus among Republicans and Democrats to put a bill in the Senate leaders’ hands that could be enacted,” said Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
Murray placed the blame squarely on Republican leaders.
“We identified significant common ground and I made some tough concessions to move in Chairman Alexander’s direction when it comes to giving states more flexibility,” said Murray, the committee’s top Democrat. “I am disappointed that Republican leaders have decided to freeze this bipartisan.
approach and are trying to jam through a partisan Trumpcare bill, but I am confident that we can reach a deal if we keep working together — and I am committed to getting that done.”
Meanwhile, both Alexander and Murray are willing to resume their efforts to provide a bi-partisan bill.
Some quotes used came from the Associated Press, The Hill, and Politico.