Below are my last 4 posts pertaining to the Graham/Cassidy Repeal and Replace Bill if you haven’t read them. Breitbart today had an exclusive interview with Republican Senator, Bill Cassidy from LA. Senator Cassidy shed some additional light on the bill that may just get us over the finish line.
From the article linked above:
Breitbart News reported on former Senator Rick Santorum’s plan to block grant Obamacare to the states. The plan would allow Republican states to craft a more conservative alternative to the Affordable Care Act, which would lower premiums and other health care costs. Santorum has continued to work with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) on this Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Meadows told Breitbart News Daily that the plan has “real merit.”
Cassidy then explained that his Republican coalition is working around the clock to pass this bill before the September 30 deadline for budgetary reconciliation. He revealed to Breitbart News that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Sen. Graham, and himself will speak with all of the Republican governors on their plan on Tuesday. Cassidy said, “We have a call with the governors today, we’re circulating information regarding the formulas, frequently asked questions, a section-by-section breakdown of the bill today. We would like to send the plan to the CBO by Monday, so that way they have enough time to score. If we can tell Mitch McConnell we have 50 votes, ideally we can get a vote on it before the September 30th reconciliation deadline.”
Both Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Sen. Graham explained to Breitbart News that they plan to get 25 Republican Governors to come out in favor of the bill. Santorum said that the Governors hope to present the idea “as a solution outside of Washington.”
Sen. Cassidy suggested that they will include measures proposed by Senate conservative such as Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-TX) who want more flexible options towards Obamacare insurance regulations to lower premiums. The senator suggested that through increased waivers through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and through the the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department, states can have greatly increased flexibility towards implementing a more conservative healthcare system that will lower overall healthcare costs. Cassidy said:
We’re putting the waivers through the CHIP program. The CHIP program, even if the parliamentarian says nothing else is allowed, and that is a possibility, CHIP which no state ever complains about, gives a lot more flexibility than Obamacare and allows the secretary of HHS to give waivers. I gather that those waivers have been frequently given. The flexibility inherent in CHIP may accomplish which the parliamentarian may allow us to accomplish that we otherwise could not do. But will attempt to incorporate things hoping that the parliamentarian allows them.
The Cruz amendment which we’ve added on, allows health savings accounts to be used to pay for health insurance. This gives states the mechanism to pre-fund health savings accounts to purchase health insurance just like Indiana did under Mike Pence with Medicaid expansion dollars. Even Democratic governors will welcome the flexibility.
Cassidy then revealed that senators such as John McCain (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) could support this bill. These senators opposed Obamacare repeal bills in the past, but they could ultimately vote for this bill because it will allow their governors to design programs that work best for their home states. Cassidy said:
I will point out that in Maine, which created the invisible high-risk pool concept, which Obamacare put out of business, which now everyone looks at the problem of high-risk pool cost. So it show that if you give the power back to the states to craft their own solutions, we can give power back to Maine, Alaska, and Arizona, and let them come up with their solutions. This defies the Washington establishment, it returns power to the states.
Sen. Cassidy explained that by block granting health care to the states, states can design innovative health care solutions that would allow citizens to purchase health insurance across states lines, a frequently proposed idea to lower health care costs by Republicans. Cassidy suggested:
The great thing about that is not us deciding these policies. It’s not somebody in Washington, D.C., it is a state saying that this thing will work. So imagine Rhode Island, which can easily have interstate policies with its surrounding states, and somebody in Rhode Island can drive 15 minutes and be in another state and get a competitive health care plan. States can come up with that and drive this up organically and drive down health care costs.
We also relax the Obamacare rule that says you can only charge old people three times as much as a younger person to five times to lowers premiums. That will lower premiums for the young Americans, and this will get them to join in and balance out the risk pool.
We can do a lot better than the Affordable Care Act to balance out the risk pool and that will lower premiums.
Even Politico had to acknowledge this evening that the WH wants to take one last crack at Repealing and Replacing Obamacare!
From the article linked above:
President Donald Trump and some Senate Republicans are refusing to give up on Obamacare repeal, even after this summer’s spectacular failure and with less than a month before a key deadline.
The president and White House staff have continued to work with Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolijna and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana over the summer on their proposal to block grant federal health care funding to the states. And though the bill is being rewritten and Congress faces a brutal September agenda, Trump and his allies on health care are making a last-gasp effort.
“He wants to do it, the president does. He loves the block grants. But we’ve got to have political support outside Washington,” Graham said in an interview. He said the bill needs to have a “majority of the Republican governors behind the idea” to gain momentum in the Senate.
Cassidy said he hopes to have the bill text finalized by this week and has declined to reveal details about what changed in the bill during August.
“We are still refining the legislative language — just things you got to clear up,” he said. “We think we have good legislation, good policy.”
The Congressional Budget Office would also still need time to analyze the cost of the bill, a process that could take several weeks.
Trump has intermittently told aides he wants progress on health care and is still frustrated that the bill failed. The White House’s legislative team has talked with Republican governors in recent weeks and is planning to bring more to the White House, according to one of the officials. Internally, White House officials say they have listened to concerns from governors and tried to tweak the state block grant formulas.
“It’s possible, yes. But you’ve got to do it quickly … introduce it this week, have a hearing soon about the bill, then the process is set to actually take it to floor and vote,” Graham said. “Everything has to fall in place.”