Competing Health Care Plans Rip Current Through Capitol Hill

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Louisiana's Bill Cassidy and the three Republican U.S. Senate colleagues backing his Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan framed the measure they unveiled Wednesday as Republican's "last shot" at scrapping the sweeping 2010 Democratic health insurance law.

"Tell them this matters to you, that you weren't kidding about repealing and replacing Obamacare, that you actually meant it".

"Should robust efforts to enact the Graham-Cassidy legislation though the FY2017 Reconciliation bill run out of time, then the fight to redirect funds from Planned Parenthood must move immediately to the FY2018 Tax Reconciliation bill".

The prior Congress passed legislation to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood that would have become law if not for President Obama's veto, and now they have the support of President Trump. Furthermore, low-income residents are forced to pay a penalty for not purchasing health care they can not afford under the current system. Although more than a dozen senators have come out in support of Sanders' bill, others want to preserve and fix the Obamacare system.

Yet Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, rejected the bill on Twitter as Mr. Cassidy spoke to reporters, lengthening the odds of success as the GOP continues to struggle with seven-year promise to scrap the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats, Trump to meet: Moderate House Democrats are heading to the White House Wednesday to discuss tax reform, health care and infrastructure.

There are "people coming out regularly and saying they're for it, either privately or publicly", Mr. Cassidy said.

Still, a small group of Republicans led by Sens.

President Donald Trump center speaks as he meets with Republican senators on health care in the East Room of the White House in Washington Tuesday
Competing Health Care Plans Rip Current Through Capitol Hill

The states would receive federal money in proportion to their population of poor people. Their bill replaces Obamacare's Medicaid expansion with block grants, giving states more flexibility on health care spending but less money to work with.

Cassidy, in rejecting criticism of the proposal as "partisan", said Democratic senators from purple states where Republican governors or legislatures blocked Medicaid expansion - a list that includes Virginia, Wisconsin and in - should back the plan because of the increased money. The Senate faces a September 30 deadline to use reconciliation, according to the Senate parliamentarian. Under the Graham-Cassidy formula, these blue states would get less money, and the other 46 states would get more.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) speaks as Sen.

But wouldn't a devolution of ObamaCare to the states, as Graham-Cassidy supposedly accomplishes, still be an improvement over the current status quo?

Under the ACA, four states - New York, California, Massachusetts and Maryland - get 40 percent of the money from the ACA, Graham said. "This bill fundamentally transforms health care in the United States".

Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate have not endorsed the Sanders bill and say their immediate concern is to protect coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which still faces attacks from Republicans. In the meantime, the Congressional Budget Office will take its sweet time scoring the legislation, leaving a very narrow window in which to debate, amend, and pass the bill. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said he had seen no evidence that the bill had the 50 votes needed to win approval in the Senate in the next two weeks. Copayments would be allowed for prescription drugs.

Graham said, "He encouraged everybody to jump on board ..."