“.. now that it’s over, the old Graham is back and more than willing to laugh at how improbable it was that a national security expert briefly held the national limelight as a supposed health policy wonk.
Graham, though, said he was not alone in his lack of understanding of health care. “Nobody in our conference believes Obamacare works. It must be replaced. But until now, we didn’t know how to do it,” Graham told reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday, audio of which is posted below.
A reporter pointed out that such ignorance at this late stage is hard to understand. “You’ve been working to overhaul this for seven years. Why is this so hard?” she asked. “Well, I’ve been doing it for about a month. I thought everybody else knew what the hell they were talking about, but apparently not,” Graham clarified, adding he had assumed “these really smart people will figure it out.” (A)

“Stung by another health care defeat this week, President Trump said Wednesday he will begin talking with Democrats on legislation that can replace the law signed by predecessor Barack Obama.
“I will negotiate with Democrats to see if we can make a bipartisan bill,” Trump told reporters at the White House, the day after Senate Republicans’ last-ditch proposal to unwind the Affordable Care Act collapsed on Capitol Hill. The president said he hopes for a health care vote in January, February or March.
In the meantime, the president said he plans to sign an executive order – likely next week – that would enable people to buy health insurance across state lines, though there is some question as to whether a president has the authority to effect such a change.” (B)

“Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., predicted Wednesday that President Trump would soon move on his own to make health insurance more affordable, after the Senate failed again this week to advance any bill to reform federal healthcare policy.
“I believe that President Trump can legalize on his own the ability of individuals to join a group or a health association across state lines and buy insurance,” he added.
Paul he has been pitching the idea of using the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to let people buy insurance across state lines. That law already allows corporations to buy insurance across state lines for their workers if they are located in several states.” (C)

“Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is floating potentially tying a bipartisan deal on stabilizing the health insurance market to structural reforms favored by Republicans, after the latest bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare fell apart.
“Sen. [Lamar] Alexander [R-Tenn.] and Sen. [Patty] Murray [D-Wash] are working on some ideas on stabilizing the market, but more importantly, to me, Sen. [Bill] Cassidy [R-La.] and Sen. [Lindsey] Graham [R-S.C.] are looking at structural reform,” the No. 2 Senate Republican told reporters Tuesday.
Cornyn hasn’t previously appeared optimistic that he would be able to support a potential deal hatched by Alexander and Murray — the top two members on the Senate Health Committee — aimed at stabilizing the insurance market and providing ObamaCare’s cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies.
He added on Tuesday that he still wasn’t optimistic of the potential agreement as a stand-alone bill, saying, “I remain unconvinced that bailing out insurance companies is going to fix the problem.”
“That’s why if somehow we can combine the efforts of Cassidy and Graham for real reform, that might provide a potential solution,” he said.” (D)

“Graham and his co-conspirators previously said they would demand that tax cuts and health care reform be lumped together if they failed to make headway on health care in September. But on Tuesday, Graham changed course, saying he is now willing to let tax reform go ahead on its own because he had been unaware how complex tying the two together would be. Then, in the spring, Graham said, he will insist on a new budget resolution that allows for another crack at repeal using a 50-vote threshold — what is called budget reconciliation in the Senate.
Before Republicans spend another year plotting an ACA repeal, they may want to reflect on whether they have what it takes to get those 50 votes…..” (E)

“Trump said there would be another vote on healthcare in the first few months of 2018 and he would work with Democrats to make the effort more bipartisan. Democrats strongly oppose repealing and replacing Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.
“I am … going to meet with Democrats and I will see if I can get a healthcare plan that’s even better,” Trump said. “So I will negotiate with Democrats, but from the Republican standpoint, we have the votes. We’ll vote in January, February or March.”
Trump did not explain the discrepancy between his conviction that the votes were there and the fact that not enough Republican senators supported the latest bill, forcing Republican leaders to scrap plans to hold a vote.” (F)

(B) Trump says he’ll negotiate with Democrats on health care plan, by David Jackson,
(C) Rand Paul: Trump will take executive action on healthcare after Senate failure, by Pete Kasperowicz,
(D) Key GOP senator floats tying bipartisan insurance stabilization deal to reforms, by JORDAIN CARNEY,
(F) Trump vows another healthcare vote next year, eyes executive order, by Jeff Mason, Susan Cornwell,

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