Jimmy Kimmel's blistering monologue on Tuesday night against the latest GOP plan to repeal ObamaCare called out one of its authors by name, and now Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy is swinging back. What he and Lindsey Graham conceived would take the money ObamaCare spends on Medicaid and insurance subsidies, trim it, and dole the resulting pot to the states to spend on health care as they like. On CNN's New Day on Wednesday, Cassidy put it simply: "I'm sorry he does not understand. Under [the bill] more people will have coverage, and we protect those with pre-existing conditions." He says the latter point is true due to a provision that requires states seeking a waiver related to pre-existing conditions to guarantee those in this group have "affordable" coverage. More:
- Need a primer on the ins and outs of the bill and its timing? We have you covered here.
- Politico clearly explains the Medicaid part: ObamaCare pushed states to grant Medicaid to those making up to 138% of the federal poverty level. The cost of anyone who was newly qualified under the expansion was subsidized almost entirely by the feds; 31 states moved forward with expansions.
- The Washington Post declares that, actually, Kimmel understands the bill pretty well. It assesses how five of Kimmel's claims stack up.
- Rand Paul is a firm no, and if two more senators come out against the bill, it'll fail. Which makes a letter against the Graham-Cassidy bill signed by 10 governors noteworthy, reports the Washington Post. The letter voices support for the bipartisan talks Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray have been leading. Among the signers is Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, who could potentially sway the undecided Lisa Murkowski. On the flip side, 15 GOP governors have come out in favor of the bill.
- Jeff Stein of Vox asked 9 GOP senators questions about how the bill will improve the American health care system. Read their somewhat evasive answers here; Sen. Pat Roberts used a Thelma & Louise analogy.
- Buzzy quote from a GOP senior aide to Axios: "If there was an oral exam on the contents of the proposal, graded on a generous curve, only two Republicans could pass it. And one of them isn't Lindsey Graham."
- Writing for the National Review, Michael Tanner calls the bill "too mild." Democrats have articulated pretty clearly what they want: a national government-run health care system. But rather than present their own "ideological worldview" on the subject, the GOP's greatest goal is to pass something, making for legislation "that slows but doesn’t reverse the ongoing march to socialized medicine."
- At the Hill, Ned Ryun sees us as facing the choice between a "bowl of lint sprinkled with lemon juice" (ie, ObamaCare) "versus a bowl of lukewarm gruel" (Graham-Cassidy bill). He explains why he'll take the gruel.
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