Republicans blocking wall, ACA repeal are on notice

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) visited Fox News's "America's Newsroom" on Thursday and had some strong words for the leaders of his party regarding the subject of repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the onetime candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, proposed what he called "a Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care system", and he said 15 Democratic senators supported it. That state's particularly generous proposal would cover all medical expenses (no out-of-pocket payments or co-pays) for US citizens, permanent residents, and undocumented immigrants.

Sanders' description of his measure omitted specifics about cost.

Sanders did not say how he would pay for his bill. Aides said it would likely be financed by premiums that would pay income adjusted from no premiums for the poorest Americans to levies on the rich and corporations.

Graham explicitly contrasted his bill with what he called "Berniecare", casting it as the GOP's last, best chance to prevent Democrats from eventually replacing private insurance with a public program. But it's a touchstone for the Democratic Party's liberal, activist base. Almost half of those, he said, made less than $50,000 a year. The only way that Republicans can make coverage more affordable is by either kicking the most expensive people out of the insurance market or by making insurance more expensive for people who have preexisting conditions.

Sanders' bill would expand Medicare, one of the nation's largest, most popular entitlement programs.

But that could put Congress in the exact same bind next year, where insurers threaten to spike premiums because they don't know whether federal subsidies will continue. While Obamacare has had its successes, 28.5 million people remain uninsured.

Yet some Democrats fear Sanders is exposing them to a lose-lose choice. Not only would the bill need a score from the Congressional Budget Office, but Cornyn said he does not think it has the votes needed to pass.

Gov. McMaster to announce final decision on state evacuations
They have requested a FEMA incident management team to expedite any federal assets that may be needed to respond to the storm. Residents cleared out store shelves, grabbing the essentials as they prepared for the worst in cities like Charleston.

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and key holdout, says he supports the bill but wants hearings, further straining the calendar. Chris Murphy of CT and Ohio's Sherrod Brown.

Yesterday two senators, Mike Lee from Utah and Jerry Moran from Kansas, jointly and publicly announced that they could not support the bill.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of Capitol Hill's most ardent opponents of the current plan, contends that passage would mean Republicans are taking ownership of Obamacare rather than repealing the healthcare law in any meaningful way.

"This past week, we heard testimony from Democrat and Republican governors and Medicaid directors who believe that, with increased flexibility and freedom from Washington, DC regulations, they can do a better job of providing coverage for the people of their state", said Cassidy.

The GOP plan was introduced by Graham, Sen. Some states would receive less money compared to current law, others potentially more, and the funding would only extend to 2026, leaving the future beyond that uncertain.

If senators are serious about improving health care in this country, they should allow the bipartisan process being led by the chair and ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee - Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) - to proceed.

Hours earlier, Republican senators unveiled their own last-ditch, long-shot plan to scuttle President Barack Obama's 2010 statute and practically begged the White House to help. Several Republicans have said they're not interested in spending more money on the ACA, especially without deep policy changes in return.


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