Senators Throw Sugar on ObamaCare Repeal for Holdouts

With Collins, Murkowski wavering, GOP has less than a week to get health bill passed
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2017 8:06 AM CDT
Updated Sep 25, 2017 6:44 AM CDT
Senators Sweeten Deal for Health Bill Holdouts
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is still leaning toward a no vote.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham aren't giving up on their bill to repeal ObamaCare. They plan to release a revised version Monday that directs more money to states represented by holdout senators, including Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, reports the Washington Post. The GOP has until Saturday to get something passed before doing so becomes all but impossible under Senate rules. By now, the math is well established: Two firm "no" votes from Rand Paul and John McCain mean the GOP cannot afford one more defection. Making matters more complicated, Ted Cruz said Sunday that he and fellow conservative Mike Lee also currently oppose Graham-Cassidy, though changes to the bill resulting in lower premiums could win them over. Bottom line? The Hill still thinks it's "more than likely" the bill will fail.

One factor to come this week is a preliminary estimate from the Congressional Budget Office on the bill's impact. Collins in particular said she would make no final decision until seeing that, though she reiterated Sunday that she is skeptical she'd ever get to a "yes" vote. As for the revised numbers coming out Monday from Cassidy and Graham, Democrats and left-leaning think tanks already were criticizing them as misleading based on sneak peeks provided to news outlets. And Axios reports that the bill would still cut overall funding to Alaska, Maine, Arizona, and Kentucky. President Trump, meanwhile, continued to apply pressure to the holdouts. "Alaska, Arizona, Maine and Kentucky are big winners in the Healthcare proposal," he tweeted late Sunday afternoon. "7 years of Repeal & Replace and some Senators not there." (More ObamaCare stories.)

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