Opposition from GOP senators grows, jeopardizes health bill

Trump ObamaCare

Sen. Bill Cassidy will defend the Republican "Obamacare" repeal bill before a Senate panel on Monday.

In a series of tweets starting at 6.42am, the president attacked Senator John McCain, whom he said had "let Arizona down"; goaded wavering Republicans in an attempt to persuade them to come on board; and praised Graham-Cassidy, the current and controversial plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., "sold John McCain a bill of goods".

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. John McCain (R-AZ), who is also opposing the health care reform bill.

Repealing and replacing Obamacare was a major campaign promise for President Trump and for Republicans running for Congress in the past several campaigns.

Trump, speaking at a political rally Friday night in Alabama, called McCain's opposition "sad" and "a awful, frightful thing" for the Republican Party. "We already have a problem under the Affordable Care act with the cost of premiums and deductibles, and finally, I'm very concerned about the erosion of protections for people with pre-existing conditions".

Instead, the federal government would block-grant health care funding to the states - which critics say could destabilize the healthcare market and cut millions of people off of insurance.

President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington on September 12, 2017.

Republicans have only a slim Senate majority and can not afford to lose many votes on the bill, their latest attempt to dismantle a law that brought health insurance to millions of Americans and became former Democratic President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement.

The criticism comes a day after the Arizona senator announced in a statement that he can not "in good conscience" vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. "I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried", McCain said.

Graham looked appeal to other Republicans on Sunday, including Sen.

"Right now they don't have my vote and I don't think they have [Sen.] Mike Lee's (R-Utah) either", Cruz said at the Texas Tribune Festival, The Hill reported on Sunday. The White House continues to hold out hope that one, Rand Paul of Kentucky, can be persuaded to change his position - but the senator pushed back on the effort.

After blasting McCain, Trump on Saturday singled out Paul and Murkowski.

"We're all in", one senior GOP aide said. Susan Collins said Friday she, too, is leaning against the bill, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was also a possible "no", making it highly unlikely that McConnell can prevail.

In the press release, the aforementioned medical groups claim that the Graham-Cassidy plan would be impossible to implement within a year. Murray said in a statement, though, that they "identified significant common ground" but GOP leaders chose to "freeze" the bipartisan effort and push the party's own plan. The Maine moderate also criticized a provision letting states make it easier for insurers to raise premiums on people with pre-existing medical conditions. States that rejected the Medicaid expansion would gain $73 billion.

The legislation would do away with Obamacare's individual mandate requiring most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine. A vote taken any later than that would have to garner at least 60 votes for passage.



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