“Eleven governors, including five Republicans and a pivotal Alaskan independent, urged the Senate on Tuesday to reject a last-ditch push to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
But Republican leaders pressed toward a showdown vote. And they choked off separate bipartisan efforts to shore up health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, hoping to give Republican senators no alternative but to vote for repeal.
The latest repeal bill, drafted by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, would undo much of the Affordable Care Act and send tens of billions of federal dollars to the states with vast discretion over how to spend the money.” (A)
“On Tuesday evening, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said that he was ending bipartisan negotiations for a bill to stabilize health insurance markets and make a few changes to the Affordable Care Act, because after four hearings and involved negotiations, his group had “not found the necessary consensus among Republicans and Democrats.” The unexpected decision appears aimed at shoring up support for the Senate GOP’s last-ditch plan to repeal ObamaCare, sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), by removing any alternative legislation….Alexander said that especially since Graham-Cassidy gained steam, appetite within his party for his bill was very low. “I know how to get bipartisan results, but I’m not a magician,” he said. (B)
“.. Like a bad sequel to a terrible movie, a proposal whose main architects are Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina would in many ways be worse than bills that came before it..
It is hard to overstate the cruelty of the Graham-Cassidy bill. It would eliminate the mandate that even healthy people buy health insurance, end the subsidies that help people purchase coverage and stop the expansion of Medicaid. It would offer states block grants they could use to help people get insurance but would leave people at the mercy of individual state legislatures and, over all, would provide $239 billion less than what the federal government would spend under current law between 2020 and 2026, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (C)
“…With a deadline of Sept. 30 looming for use of the reconciliation rules to pass a bill, the Congressional Budget Office announced that it would rush analysis of the current overhaul bill, called Graham-Cassidy after its two primary sponsors, by the beginning of next week. That analysis would include an assessment of whether the bill would increase deficits over the long term, which is necessary for reconciliation. But it wouldn’t go much further.
“CBO will provide as much qualitative information as possible about the effects of the legislation,” its announcement read, “however CBO will not be able to provide point estimates of the effects on the deficit, health insurance coverage, or premiums for at least several weeks.” (D)
“Gov. Chris Christie said on Wednesday that he opposes the latest Senate plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, deeming it “too injurious” to New Jersey. “I oppose Graham-Cassidy because it is too injurious to the people of New Jersey,” …I’m certainly not going to support a bill that takes nearly $4 billion from people in the state.” New Jersey could lose around $3.9 billion in federal Medicaid funds by 2026, according to an estimate from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
Christie, an early and ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, stressed that he remains “philosophically” opposed to Obamacare but “took advantage” of Medicaid expansion for the benefit of his state residents….The Republican governor said he agreed with the “concept of block grants” but felt that Graham and Cassidy were “tying themselves into knots trying to help the states that didn’t expand.”” (E)
Health insurers will receive this month’s payments from the Trump administration reimbursing them for reducing copayments and deductibles for millions of low-income customers, the White House said Tuesday, once more shelving a standoff with insurers over the contested funds. (F)
“Graham said Tuesday he has made an alliance with “Darth Vader” — referring to former Trump advisor Steven K. Bannon — for support to see the bill to passage. Bannon, who was portrayed as the villain on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” is back to running the website Breitbart, which is influential among conservatives, after being pushed out of the White House.
“I have got Alan Greenspan, Jeb Bush and Steve Bannon” behind this bill, Graham said. “If anyone can do better, I’d like to meet them.”” (G)
(A) Republican Leaders Defy Bipartisan Opposition to Health Law Repeal, by ROBERT PEAR and THOMAS KAPLAN, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/us/politics/obamacare-act-fix-collapses-repeal-trump.html?_r=0
(B) Senate Republicans pull out of bipartisan health-care talks as Graham-Cassidy picks up steam, http://theweek.com/speedreads/725690/senate-republicans-pull-bipartisan-healthcare-talks-grahamcassidy-picks-steam
(C) The Republican Health Care Zombie Is Back, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/opinion/editorials/republican-healthcare-graham-cassidy.html
(D) Reminder: It’s very unusual to vote on a health-care bill before Congress knows what it will do, by Philip Bump, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/09/19/reminder-its-very-unusual-to-vote-on-a-health-care-bill-before-congress-knows-what-it-will-do/?utm_term=.7f33e17cf9b4
(E) Christie says he opposes Graham-Cassidy bill, by KATIE JENNINGS, http://www.politico.com/states/new-jersey/story/2017/09/20/christie-says-he-opposes-graham-cassidy-obamacare-replacement-bill-114611
(F) Trump Administration Makes ACA’s Health-Insurer Payments for September, by Louise Radnofsky, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-makes-acas-health-insurer-payments-for-september-1505855468
(G) Trump is all in for GOP healthcare bill; sponsor Graham allies with ‘Darth Vader’ (a.k.a. Steve Bannon) for support, by Lisa Mascaro, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-trump-all-in-for-gop-healthcare-bill-1505841753-htmlstory.html