Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Trump pressures United States senators to back Republican healthcare bill

Alex Brandon | AP | BDN Alex Brandon | AP | BDN
Christy Curtis | 25 September, 2017, 01:38

Trump's tweet-o-rama Saturday included three hits on McCain, including one that said the senator "never had any intention of voting for this Bill, which his Governor loves". John McCain, R-Ariz., announced in a statement on Friday that he can not support the Graham-Cassidy health care bill.

McCain criticized the closed process of drafting the bill, as opposed to going through "regular order" with open public hearings and votes in Senate committees.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who brought the bill with Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, said on ABC's "This Week" he thinks the measure still has a chance to pass and that there's no possibility for a bipartisan repeal-and-replace effort that would bring Democrats into the process - an outcome that Collins urged. However, after McCain's "no", if Paul remains a "no" and Collins also declares definitively she won't vote for the bill, Republicans openly acknowledge that's the ballgame.

Republicans in Congress are understandably eager to keep faith with voters after vowing repeatedly to repeal and replace Obamacare if placed in power.

Trump, speaking at a political rally Friday night in Alabama, called McCain's opposition "sad" and "a disgusting, terrible thing" for the Republican Party.

He continued: "Arizona had a 116% increase in ObamaCare premiums a year ago, with deductibles very high".

Speaking to CBS News' John Dickerson, Collins said she'll remain uneasy until the Congressional Budget Office releases its latest projection for the bill's impact.

The Graham-Cassidy proposal would turn Obamacare funds into block grants for the states, which would create their own health care plans for residents. McCain, a close friend of Graham, said he could not support it without knowing how much it would cost, its effect on insurance premiums, and how many people would be affected.

President Donald Trump is holding out hope that a last-ditch effort to overhaul the Obama-era health law isn't over.

As Graham and Cassidy pledged to keep trying to pass their bill, the White House and the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave differing accounts of the path ahead.

"I'm reading the fine print on Graham-Cassidy", Collins said, according to the Press Herald. "I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried", he said in a statement. If two Republican senators vote against the bill, Vice President Mike Pence would probably cast the deciding, tie-breaker vote to win passage. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have expressed skepticism about it.

Republican opposition to the GOP health care bill swelled to near-fatal numbers Sunday as Sen.

Paul, who was a Trump rival for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, said he doesn't resent Trump's tweets against him.

If Collins comes out against the bill, crafted by GOP Sens.

Republicans have started to throw their support behind the Graham-Cassidy measure after a slimmed-down repeal bill failed in July. Susan Collins, of ME, said she was leaning against the bill, the Portland Press-Herald newspaper reported on Friday.

"They're pleasant conversations", Paul said. Murray said in a statement, though, that they "identified significant common ground" but GOP leaders made a decision to "freeze" the bipartisan effort and push the party's own plan. The latter concluded that 35 states would lose $160 billion under Cassidy-Graham.

It also would end the guarantee that people with pre-existing medical conditions can't be charged more for insurance.

They also say the cuts to Medicaid would cause millions of Americans to lose their coverage - and the changes would weaken individual insurance markets, making coverage more costly.

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