Senator Cassidy a candidate for Health and Human Services Secretary?

“Sen. Cassidy failed to repeal ObamaCare, but the defeat hasn’t stopped Louisiana’s senior senator from trying to raise money from the effort.
A fundraising pitch sent this week from Cassidy’s campaign urged supporters to send donations by a Saturday deadline to “help Bill keep fighting for what we all know is right.”
The email describes Cassidy as working “to keep every Republican’s promise in repealing and replacing the disastrous Obamacare” and said he’s become a “target of liberals across the country” because of it.
The fundraising request doesn’t mention that Cassidy’s legislation, co-sponsored by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, didn’t have enough GOP support for passage and was shelved this week as the Senate moves on to a debate about taxes.” (A)

“Bipartisan health insurance proposal expected next week. “What we’re trying to do is not just see whether Sen. Murray and I can agree, but whether the two of us can find a significant number of Democrats and Republicans who can agree on a limited, bipartisan proposal that could actually pass,” said Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Murray, the committee’s top Democrat, also is optimistic about the discussions. “After all the partisanship we’ve seen from Republicans on health care, I’m glad we’ve been able to restart our conversations about ways to actually make health care work better for families — beginning with steps to help lower premiums — and I’m hopeful we can reach a final agreement soon,” she said.
While negotiations are still ongoing, Alexander and Murray are looking to give states more flexibility in the type of policies that they can approve and to extend for two years the federal cost-sharing payments that enable insurance companies to reduce premiums for lower- and middle-class Americans. President Trump has threatened to stop the payments, which are worth about $7 billion this year. “ (B)

“Republicans who control Congress moved one step closer Friday to overhauling the tax code — one of their top legislative goals — in an effort that also puts a repeal of the Affordable Care Act on the back burner for at least the near future….
Republicans want to pass tax reform using budget reconciliation, a procedural tool that would allow them to advance their bill with a simple 51-vote majority, rather than the typical 60. Since Republicans have a 52 to 48 majority in the Senate, the lower voting threshold would make it possible for them to pass tax reform without help from Democrats.
Senate Republicans used budget reconciliation — which can only be used once per fiscal year — in their attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare this year. But despite many attempts, they failed to pass a health care bill in their allotted time to do so under reconciliation, which expires Saturday.” (C)

“Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., the two authors of the latest Republicans effort to overhaul Obamacare to collapse in the Senate, met with President Trump on Thursday and afterwards said they look forward to continue the debate over healthcare, even as Congress turns its focus to tax reform….
“Over the coming weeks and months, we are committed to holding congressional hearings and working with our nations’ governors who believe returning power to states is a vast improvement over Obamacare,” the duo said in a statement after meeting Trump, who was a major proponent of their efforts….
…. the senators said they have the backing of the president who “remains committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare” and furthermore “the principles brought forward in Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson.” “ (D)

“President Trump’s selection of a secretary of health and human services could be a turning point in a health care debate that has polarized Washington, as he faces a choice of working with Democrats to fix the current system or continuing his so-far failed efforts to dismantle his predecessor’s program…
The White House had no comment Saturday, but the two most frequently mentioned candidates to succeed Price are two officials who work in the department: Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration…
If Trump picks Verma to succeed Price at the Department of Health and Human Services, it would be taken as a sign among many that he wants to continue vigorous opposition to the Affordable Care Act, with the government doing the minimum required by the law to implement its provisions.” (E)

“Another potential candidate is Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott, a former hospital executive who is term-limited after 2018. But Scott is expected to mount a Senate campaign against Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson next year, and he may have ambitions and interests beyond health care…
Also mentioned is Louisiana GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy, co-author of the last Republican health care bill that failed to advance. Cassidy would probably win confirmation easily, but his prospects in the Senate appear bright, and he may not want to depart for a Cabinet post in a tumultuous administration.” (F)

(A) U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy asks for campaign donations after health care legislation fails,
(B) Sen. Lamar Alexander: Bipartisan health insurance proposal expected next week, by Michael Collins,
(C) Budget panel officially sidelines Obamacare repeal, makes path for GOP tax plan, by Ashley Killough and Ted Barrett,
(D) Graham-Cassidy authors ‘committed’ to hearings on healthcare after meeting with Trump, by Daniel Chaitin,
(E) Choice of new health secretary may offer clue to Trump’s next move on health law, by Peter Baker,
(F) Price’s Exit Further Complicates GOP Health Care Push, by JILL COLVIN and RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR,

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