WASHINGTON — The Republican senators at the forefront of the latest effort to undo the Affordable Care Act plan to release a revised version of their bill Monday sending more health care dollars to the states of key holdouts, as hardening resistance from several GOP senators left their proposal on the verge of collapse.
According to a summary obtained by The Washington Post, Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, will propose giving Alaska and Maine get more funding than initially offered. Those states are represented by Republican senators Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Susan Collins, Maine, who have expressed concerns about the bill but have yet to say how they would vote.
The Cassidy-Graham legislation would overhaul the ACA by lumping together the current law’s spending on insurance subsidies and expanded Medicaid and redistributing it to states in the form of block grants. Alaska would get 3 percent more funding between 2020 and 2026 than under current law, and Maine would get 43 percent more funding during that time period, according to a summary obtained by The Post.
On Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers are scrambling to save their latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, after it looks like they will again fail to secure enough votes to pass the legislation. On Friday, Republican Arizona Senator John McCain announced he will not support the Graham-Cassidy bill. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul also opposes the legislation, and Maine Senator Susan Collins, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Texas Senator Ted Cruz have all indicated they may vote against the bill. Top Republicans have revised the legislation to add additional benefits for Alaska and Maine in efforts to woo Senators Murkowski’s and Collins’s votes.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday he plans to “let Obamacare fail,” after Senate Republican leaders failed in a bid to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement in place. The move was opposed by four Republicans, including three women—Senators Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito and Lisa Murkowski, who along with Rob Portman said the effort would deprive millions of Americans of health insurance. All three Republican women were left out of a Senate working group comprised of 13 white men that drafted the initial healthcare bill. On Tuesday, President Trump suggested he might let insurance markets created under Obamacare go under, and then try to work with Democrats on a rescue.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a revised plan Thursday to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and is once again facing opposition from within his own party. On Thursday, Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky said they would oppose even putting the new bill to a vote. The measure would gut Medicaid by over $700 billion through 2026, while providing massive tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. Republicans are facing sustained grassroots resistance to their plans. On Thursday, 11 interfaith leaders, including the North Carolina NAACPpresident, Reverend William Barber, were arrested outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office protesting the latest version of the Republican healthcare plan. This is Traci Blackmon, executive minister of justice and witness ministries for the United Church of Christ.
Rev. Traci Blackmon: “I happen to know that the people of Kentucky will suffer if this healthcare bill passes. You may be OK. Your friends may be OK. But the people who put you in office will suffer because of this bill. It is time to stop calling God by other names when you really want to call God capitalism.”
“Kill the bill! Don’t kill me!” chanted protesters in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, opposing passage of the controversial Senate health care reform bill. President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are intent on repealing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), even if their repeal bill is massively unpopular nationally, with only 17 percent approval based on a recent poll, and will reportedly leave tens of millions of Americans without health insurance. A new study predicts that stripping health insurance away from that many people will lead to 29,000 more Americans dying per year. So, when many of these protesters are begging their senators not to kill them, they are serious.