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The latest news on Obamacare from Business Insider

older | 1 | .... | 67 | 68 | (Page 69) | 70 | 71 | .... | 78 | newer

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    bernie sanders

    President Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders feuded on Twitter on Thursday over the senator's single-payer healthcare proposal, which the president called a "curse" that he would veto "because I love our country."

    The Vermont independent and former Democratic presidential candidate then shot back at Trump, arguing that healthcare should be a right for every American and that Trump's support for the GOP's plans to repeal Obamacare is the real offense.

    "Bernie Sanders is pushing hard for a single payer healthcare plan - a curse on the U.S. & its people,"Trump wrote. "I told Republicans to approve healthcare fast or this would happen. But don't worry, I will veto because I love our country & its people."

    Sanders responded in his own tweet a few minutes later: "No Mr. President, providing health care to every man, woman and child as a right is not a curse, it's exactly what we should be doing."

    He continued, "What is a curse is your support for throwing 23 million off health insurance. That's the curse and we won't allow you to get away with it."

    Sanders unveiled his Medicare-for-all legislation on Wednesday, with the support of 15 Democratic co-sponsors, including several anticipated front-runners in the 2020 presidential election.

    "Now is the time to expand and improve Medicare to cover all Americans," Sanders wrote in a New York Times op-ed on Wednesday. "Under this legislation, every family in America would receive comprehensive coverage, and middle-class families would save thousands of dollars a year by eliminating their private insurance costs as we move to a publicly funded program."

    Some top Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have been hesitant to fully support the proposal.

    "We want to move the issue forward," Schumer said, adding that "there are are many different bills out there," including "many good ones" that he and other Democrats are examining.

    Hillary Clinton, Sanders' 2016 Democratic primary opponent, has long been critical of what she sees as the senator's failure to deal with funding and other practical considerations in his policy proposals.

    "Well, I don't know what the particulars are," Clinton said in a Wednesday interview with Vox. "As you might remember, during the campaign he introduced a single-payer bill every year he was in Congress — and when somebody finally read it, he couldn't explain it and couldn't really tell people how much it was going to cost."

    A Medicare-for-all program would likely cost the federal government hundreds of billions of dollars per year and Sanders is expected to release a white paper with proposed funding structures.

    While Trump promised to "veto" the legislation, it's very unlikely that lawmakers could get a single-payer bill through Congress while Republicans remain in control of the House and Senate.

    SEE ALSO: Bernie Sanders just released a powerful ad for his healthcare plan featuring Obama, John F. Kennedy, and Franklin Roosevelt

    SEE ALSO: Single-payer healthcare is gaining steam — but there's a simple reason it won't happen anytime soon

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    cassidy heller graham johnson

    Senate Republicans' last-ditch effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is gaining steam, but several complications could prove insurmountable.

    The bill proposed by and named after Sens. Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Dean Heller, and Ron Johnson would send most federal funding for healthcare programs like Medicaid to individual states in the form of a lump sum.

    Republicans are facing an end-of-September deadline to pass healthcare-related legislation through the budget-reconciliation process, which allows them to move measures with a simple-majority vote. Recent developments have increased the chance that Republicans are close to 50 "yes" votes. (Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate.)

    Cassidy told reporters Friday that 48 or 49 GOP members supported the bill, putting it right on the threshold. Sen. John McCain, one of the holdouts on the previous, failed Republican effort to repeal the ACA, also known as Obamacare, said he would consider voting for the bill.

    Separately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell instructed the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to speed up its scoring of the legislation, a move that indicates he is putting some weight behind the effort.

    However, Republicans face a deadline to use 2017 budget-reconciliation rules, which allow a bill to pass the Senate with a simple-majority vote, bypassing a filibuster, if it would lower the deficit. The Senate parliamentarian, an official of sorts for the chamber's rules, said the budget-reconciliation rules attached to the fiscal 2017 budget would expire at the end of the month.

    Aside from the tight calendar, proponents of the legislation are facing some friendly opposition.

    Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said on Friday that he would not vote for the bill.

    "I can't support a bill that keeps 90% of Obamacare in place," Paul tweeted. "#GrahamCassidy is not repeal or replace, it is more Obamacare Lite."

    And the bill contains many of the same Medicaid funding issues that led moderate Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski in July to reject bills to repeal and replace Obamacare. Republican leaders could afford to lose only two votes to pass that legislation.

    SEE ALSO: Deals with Democrats could leave Trump and the GOP 'trying to untangle the Slinky they have wrapped around their heads'

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    rand paul

    Republican Sen. Rand Paul spent Friday on Twitter taking the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) Obamacare repeal plan to the proverbial woodshed.

    Paul, a staunch advocate for a total repeal of the law formally known as the Affordable Care Act, said earlier Friday that he would vote against the plan if it came to the Senate floor.

    While the proposal would give federal money in block grants to states, it would do so in slightly tweaked amounts close to current funding levels under Obamacare.

    That would mean Obamacare is still broadly intact, Paul argued.

    "I can't support a bill that keeps 90% of Obamacare in place," Paul said. "#GrahamCassidy is not repeal or replace, it is more Obamacare Lite."

    Paul even shot back when one of the architects, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, attempted to defend the plan on Twitter.

    "GCHJ repeals entire architecture of Obamacare & gives Kentucky control over its own health care. Willing to go over it with you," Cassidy tweeted in response to Paul.

    "It keeps 90% of Obamacare spending and 90% of Obamacare taxes," Paul said back. "No thanks."

    Cassidy said Friday that the bill is supported by as many as 49 Republican senators. Whether or not it can pass before the end of September, when the GOP's opportunity to pass the bill with only a simple majority will expire, remains up in the air.

    Here are all the tweets:

     

     

     

     

     

    SEE ALSO: Republicans' last-ditch effort on Obamacare repeal is gaining some steam — but it still faces key hurdles

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    obama wink

    Insurance giant Anthem said Friday that it will provide insurance on the Obamacare exchanges in 63 Virginia counties that were previously in danger of having no insurer for 2018.

    "As a result of the ongoing discussions, today, Anthem filed to revise its Individual health plan offerings for 2018 to include both on- and-off exchange Individual plans in 68 cities and counties in Virginia," the company said in a press release.

    "Sixty-three of these cities and counties would otherwise not have access to Individual market health plans. This decision will positively impact up to 70,000 Virginians — many of whom would not have had access to important health care coverage."

    The counties became bare on September 6 when Virginia-based insurer Optima said it would shrink its footprint in the state. Optima already decided to reenter five counties, meaning Anthem is technically filling 58 empty ones.

    Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe applauded the decision in a tweet.

    "Just got call from @AnthemInc. They are staying in Virginia! No bare counties. Thank you, Anthem! You have saved VA lives," McAuliffe tweeted.

    The possibility of counties going without an insurer has long been one of the biggest potential setbacks for the exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law better known as Obamacare, since there is no backup option for people in areas without an insurer.

    Anthem already pulled out of several states due to profit and political instability concerns, something that could indicate Virginia is a more profitable market for the insurer.

    Virginia's counties being filled means no county in the US is slated to have empty areas next year. Nevada, Ohio, Indiana, and more all faced the possibility at some point in 2017.

    SEE ALSO: Republicans' last-ditch effort on Obamacare repeal is gaining some steam — but it still faces key hurdles

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    susan collins donald trump lisa murkowski

    The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill, the last gasp Obamacare repeal plan from Republicans, has a money redistribution problem.

    The GCHJ shifts the current system of federal healthcare funding to a block grant system that gives states money up front in a large lump sum. The current system matches a percentage of each state's actual spending to ensure it grows along with expenditures.

    The bill would also change the formula to determine how much each state receives from the federal government. The idea, as the authors have put it, is not to favor those states that decided to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

    This does, however, lead to a distinct separation of winners and losers under the bill.

    The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities broke down just how much states would gain or lose in federal funding through 2026 under GCHJ. The biggest loser would be California, with $27.8 billion of funding shaved off over the timeframe. This biggest winner is Texas, which would receive an additional $8.2 billion. In total, federal funding would decrease by $80 billion through 2026.

    Here's a breakdown of the winners and losers in map form:

    GCHJ funding change

    Perhaps most interestingly, in the political sense, is the fact that three of the losers from GCHJ are Arizona, Maine, and Alaska.

    GOP Sens. John McCain, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski were the three deciding votes on the first GOP healthcare push and hail from those three states. The issue for Collins and Murkowski with the first Senate Obamacare repeal bill was the amount of money the plan took away from their state, which seems to also apply here.

    McCain also emphasized that the bill would need to be beneficial for Arizona, and said he would prefer if the bill went through the normal committee process— which the GCHJ is not.

    Given that Sen. Rand Paul came out against the bill on Friday, only one of those three senators could vote against the bill for it to pass. Other wildcard Republican senators in states that lose money, like Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia, could throw a wrench in the plan.

    Republicans ability to pass the bill under budget reconciliation, which avoids a Democratic filibuster, runs out at the end of September.

    SEE ALSO: Republicans' last-ditch effort on Obamacare repeal is gaining some steam — but it still faces key hurdles

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    graham johnson cassidyLawmakers on Capitol Hill are pushing for a fast analysis of Republicans' latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

    In a letter to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, along with the House and Senate budget committees' respective ranking members John Yarmuth and Bernie Sanders, requested a rundown of the Graham-Cassidy plan's effect on insurance marketplaces, premium costs, and potential future problems that could result if the bill becomes law.

    "A comprehensive CBO analysis is essential before Republicans force a hasty, dangerous vote on what is an extreme and destructive repeal bill," the lawmakers wrote. "Members of Congress and the American people need to know the full consequences of Graham-Cassidy before any vote."

    Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already asked the CBO to expedite the scoring of the bill.

    Past attempts to repeal Obamacare saw unfavorable numbers for Republicans, such as lost insurance for tens of millions of Americans. At the time, top Republicans dismissed the nonpartisan CBO as unreliable and often inaccurate.

    "The CBO score is never quite right," Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt said in March. "So there's plenty of reason to doubt it but who knows what direction is not right."

    South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the authors of the new Republican plan, said earlier this year that even if the CBO’s scores are half-right, "that should be cause for concern."

    And the Graham-Cassidy plan faces additional hurdles. If lawmakers want to bypass a potential filibuster through the reconciliation procedure, they have to get everything done by the September 30 deadline. In addition, some Republicans are still on the fence about supporting the plan, while Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has publicly come out against it.

    "Graham/Cassidy keeps Obamacare and tells the states to run it," Paul wrote on Twitter Monday. "No thanks."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    lindsey graham

    Republicans are giving an Obamacare repeal one last go, and the process is moving at a blinding pace.

    The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) bill is the latest attempt to repeal President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, and the GOP is wasting no time trying to pass it.

    (Read more about the details of the bill here»)

    The proposal was released on Wednesday, and Republicans are moving as quickly as they can because their ability to use the process known as budget reconciliation expires at the end of the month. Reconciliation bypasses the filibuster, meaning that Republicans can pass it with a simple majority vote and no Democratic support.

    Here's a rundown of the process as it goes from here:

    • CBO score: The Congressional Budget Office announced on Monday that it will have some projections for the bill early next week. In order to qualify for the budget reconciliation process, the GCHJ has to save at least as much money against the deficit as the House's American Health Care Act and save at least $1 billion per relevant committee.

      However, due to the limited timeframe, the CBO score will be missing "point estimates of the effects on the deficit, health insurance coverage, or premiums."
    • Senate parliamentarian ruling: Some time over the next two weeks, the Senate parliamentarian will rule on whether any part of the GCHJ violates the Byrd Rule. This rule stipulates that all parts of a bill being considered under budget reconciliation actually have to do with the budget. If the parliamentarian rules that parts of the bill do not qualify, the people will need a rewrite.
    • Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing: While the Homeland Security Committee is not technically a committee of jurisdiction on the bill, it is lead by one of the authors: Sen. Ron Johnson. This allows Republicans to at least be able to say that the bill was brought in front of a committee. Many Republicans, particularly Sen. John McCain, complained that the previous healthcare bills were not given proper hearings.
    • 90 seconds of debate: Perhaps most incredibly, the GCHJ would still be considered as a substitute amendment to the House bill passed in May. This means that the GOP would technically be restarting the process that was used when their previous Obamacare repeal effort failed. Based on where that process was, the GCHJ would get only 90 seconds of debate before it would be voted on.
    • Vote: After the debate and possibly a few other parliamentary stalling tactics by Democrats, the vote would occur.

    If the bill is passed, it would then need to be sent down to the House for another vote since it is different from the AHCA. The bill would likely need to be passed in the exact Senate version in order to avoid a conference committee that would be needed if the two bills are different.

    A conference committee and re-vote by both the House and Senate probably aren't possible since Republicans only have until September 30 to pass the bill using reconciliation.

    If the bill is fit in under the wire, it would be at most 17 days between the release of the bill and its passage.

    SEE ALSO: A group of Republicans just launched a desperate Hail Mary to repeal Obamacare

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    bill cassidy

    WASHINGTON — As Senate Republicans barrel forward with another, possibly final attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the bill's architects are staying cautious in case it ends in failure.

    The bill is being pushed through the Senate using reconciliation, which allows Republicans to bypass a filibuster and pass the legislation with a simple majority. In a Senate where Republicans have only a two-vote majority, any defectors can derail the process as they did during the latest attempt in July.

    Sen. Bill Cassidy, of Louisiana, who is one of the bill's coauthors, said he could not determine the vote count or whether it was likely to pass.

    "I'm still cautiously optimistic, but there's a lot of moving parts," Sen. Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin, another of the bill's architects, said. "It's kind of coming together."

    Sen. John McCain, of Arizona, who was one of the deciding votes against the previous effort to repeal the ACA, also known as Obamacare, told reporters he was undecided on the bill. McCain said that while he was not waiting for an official analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, he wanted the bill to be passed through regular order.

    "I am going to continue to look at this as the process goes on," McCain said. "I want a regular order, and that's what I said a week ago — two weeks ago."

    While a handful of moderate Republicans are still mulling their support, the only GOP senator to come out strongly against the bill is Rand Paul of Kentucky.

    "You know I'll do everything I can to describe this as keeping Obamacare, Obamacare lite," Paul said. "But I oppose it, and we'll see what happens."

    Senate Democrats are left on the sidelines as Republicans whip the votes in their own conference. Through reconciliation, they have few, if any, options to block the bill.

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, however, said in a press conference earlier Monday that he was exploring any ways his conference could prevent the bill, which was also coauthored by Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, from passing.

    "Look, this is so outrageous and so harmful that we're going to look at every possible way to slow this bill down," Schumer said.

    Among other things, Schumer wants a concrete score from the Congressional Budget Office, which he believes would shine a light on the ramifications of the bill if it were to become law.

    "It would be outrageous for our Republican colleagues to vote for this bill without knowing its effect on people," Schumer added. "That — whatever your ideology — would be nothing short of a disgrace."

    But the CBO announced in a statement Monday that it would be able to provide only a preliminary score of the bill, without any "point estimates of the effects on the deficit, health insurance coverage, or premiums for at least several weeks."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    lindsey graham mitch mcconnell

    The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) Obamacare repeal bill is on a mad blitz through Congress.

    Since its introduction last Wednesday, the bill has gained steam and is now being rushed to the floor before a September 30 deadline for Republicans to pass the bill with a majority vote.

    Among the steps remaining, however, is a score from the Congressional Budget Office. The score is necessary because Republicans are attempting to use the budget reconciliation process to pass the legislation.

    But the CBO reported Monday that one of the most important parts of their previous healthcare analyses will not be included for the GCHJ bill because of a time crunch. Perhaps most importantly, the analysis will not contain an estimate of the legislation's effects on insurance coverage.

    "CBO will provide as much qualitative information as possible about the effects of the legislation, however CBO will not be able to provide point estimates of the effects on the deficit, health insurance coverage, or premiums for at least several weeks," a statement from the CBO said Monday.

    The CBO said the score would include, however, whether the legislation would reduce deficits as much as the House's American Health Care Act.

    Reconciliation allows the GOP to bypass the filibuster and pass the bill with just 50 votes in the Senate. Due to a ruling from the Senate parliamentarian in August, however, the reconciliation process for this round of healthcare negotiations is set to expire at the end of the month.

    The previous release of CBO scores for GOP healthcare bills have become significant events, because they quantified the massive number of Americans that would go without insurance compared to the current system.

    Democrats have requested that the bill be delayed until a CBO score including these aspects is released, but that seems unlikely if the GOP tries to pass the bill by the end of the month.

    SEE ALSO: The latest Republican Obamacare repeal is being pushed through the Senate at lightning speed

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    bill cassidy

    Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, one of the authors of the new Republican Obamacare repeal bill, received intense blowback Monday from a top health official in his own state.

    Dr. Rebekah Gee, the secretary of health in Louisiana, sent a letter to Cassidy on Monday expressing concern with the bill and saying that the proposal would eviscerate the state's healthcare system.

    "In its current form, the harm to Louisiana from this legislation far outweighs any benefits; therefore I must register our deep concerns and hope we can find a better path forward towards fixing the broken parts of our healthcare system," Gee wrote.

    The bill, called the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) plan, would shift federal funding for healthcare to a block-grant system in which states would receive money up front based on the number of enrollees. The current system provides a percentage of the state's annual healthcare funding, which fluctuates based on how much they spend.

    Gee said the proposed shift would be a serious negative for many Louisianians and would "jeopardize coverage for some of our most vulnerable citizens."

    She also took issue with the bill's elimination of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion and the proposed ability for states to obtain waivers that would weaken protections for people with preexisting conditions.

    Overall, the state of Louisiana would lose $3.2 billion in federal healthcare funding through 2026 under the legislation, according to a study from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Gee said that would threaten the health of the "most vulnerable Medicaid populations."

    The letter praised Cassidy's commitment to improving healthcare, but Gee said that his plan fails to make the system better.

    "I appreciate your determination to see reform happen." Gee wrote. "Nevertheless, the legislation you've introduced this past week gravely threatens healthcare access and coverage for our state and its people."

    Cassidy's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.

    Read the full letter:

     

    SEE ALSO: Republicans' last-chance Obamacare repeal has a giant money problem

    SEE ALSO: Republicans' last-chance Obamacare repeal has a giant money problem

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    It's crunch time for Republicans— again — on another healthcare bill, and it appears the bill is right on the edge of passage in the Senate.

    The latest, and most likely last (at least for a while), chance the GOP has to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law better known as Obamacare, is the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson legislation. The plan would shift federal funding for healthcare to up-front block grants based on a state's population.

    Sen. Bill Cassidy, one of the bill's authors, has said 48 to 49 GOP senators are on board with the plan. One Republican senator also told Politico the GOP was "one vote away from doing this thing." Republicans need 50 votes to pass the bill — and their ability to do so without facing a Democratic filibuster expires at the end of the month.

    Republicans can afford only two defections for the bill to pass. Here are the Republican senators who could decide the bill's fate.

    Lisa Murkowski, Alaska

    Why she could oppose: Murkowski voted against the most recent Senate Obamacare repeal plan. Her concerns included the loss of money for her state's Medicaid program and the proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood. Both of those sticking points remain in the new proposal. In fact, one analysis from the progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities projected that Alaska would lose $255 million through 2026.



    Rand Paul, Kentucky

    Why he could oppose: Well, he already said he plans to. Paul tweeted that the plan was "Obamacare-lite" and would do little to undo the regulatory structure of the current system. He also said the bill left in place the "entitlements" in Obamacare. The public repudiation seems to make him a safe "no" for now.



    Susan Collins, Maine

    Why she could oppose: Another senator who opposed the earlier Obamacare repeal plans, Collins could also be worried about the loss of funding her state could see. According to the CBPP, Maine would stand to lose $115 million under the plan. Collins has also opposed previous plans to defund Planned Parenthood.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Bill Walker

    A bipartisan group of 10 governors on Tuesday attacked the latest Republican attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in a strongly worded letter to Senate leaders.

    The letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson healthcare legislation should not be considered. Instead, the group said, the Senate should prioritize the bipartisan bill being drafted in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to stabilize the law known as Obamacare.

    "As you continue to consider changes to the American health care system, we ask you not to consider the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment and renew support for bipartisan efforts to make health care more available and affordable for all Americans," the letter said. "Only open, bipartisan approaches can achieve true, lasting reforms."

    The authors of the Senate legislation have consistently cited the ability for states to determine their own healthcare expenditures by proposing to provide states federal funding in a block grants. Critics of the bill say that while it gives states the money up front, it also slices the amount of money most states receive.

    Nine of the 10 governors who signed the letter represent states that expanded the federal Medicaid program under Obamacare. That expansion would no longer receive funding under the GCHJ bill.

    The group of governors includes Republicans John Kasich of Ohio and Brian Sandoval of Nevada along with Democrats John Hickenlooper of Colorado and John Bel Edwards of Louisiana (the home state of Sen. Bill Cassidy, an author of the bill).

    Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, who had not joined the group in opposing previous versions of GOP healthcare legislation, also signed onto the letter. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted against the original Senate healthcare plans in July and is seen as a pivotal vote on the GCHJ.

    Kasich and Hickenlooper led a similar group when they debuted a stabilization plan for the Obamacare markets, which bears striking similarities to the discussions in the HELP Committee. The governors praised that work. From the letter:

    "Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray have held bipartisan hearings in the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and have negotiated in good faith to stabilize the individual market. At the committee’s recent hearing with Governors, there was broad bipartisan agreement about many of the initial steps that need to be taken to make individual health insurance more stable and affordable. We are hopeful that the HELP committee, through an open process, can develop bipartisan legislation and we believe their efforts deserve support."

    Republicans have until September 30 to pass the GCHJ with a simple majority.

    SEE ALSO: Top Louisiana health official warns GOP healthcare bill's author that it'll screw his state

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    greenspan jeb bannon

    Sen. Lindsey Graham says he has a disparate trio of supporters for his last-gasp attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

    During a flight from New York to Washington, DC, Graham told reporters he is confident that the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill will pass — in part because of the coalition working to win over lawmakers.

    Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, now the head of the far-right website Breitbart, is working on whipping votes for the bill, Graham said. Graham referred to Bannon, with whom he clashed while Bannon was in the White House, as "Darth Vader."

    "Steve and I have our differences," Graham said. "But he loves the idea of federalism. He said, 'This is the best idea I've heard in years, maybe not coming from the best guy I've known in years.'"

    The South Carolina Republican says he has also enlisted the support of a few more moderate voices: former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan and former Florida governor and GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

    "And so I've got Alan Greenspan, Jeb Bush, and Steve Bannon," Graham said. "If you can do better than that, call me."

    The legislation must be passed by the end of September for the GOP to use a process that allows them to avoid a Democratic filibuster.

    The vote is expected to come down to the wire ,since only two Republicans can oppose the bill for it to pass.

    SEE ALSO: A bipartisan group of governors just blasted the new Republican healthcare bill — and it has a key addition Bob Bryan 1h 1,769

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    lindsey graham mitch mcconnellWASHINGTON — Amid the ongoing debate to once again attempt a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, one Republican lawmaker wants to tack on an amendment that would prevent individual states from using block grant funds to implement their own single-payer healthcare system.

    Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy called for an amendment to halt any attempts by states to bring about single-payer should the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill become law.

    Kennedy told Business Insider on Tuesday that Senate Republican leadership informed him he would at least get a vote on the plan, but it was unclear what kind of support it would garner amongst his colleagues.

    "I mean look, I don't believe in a single-payer system," Kennedy said. "I don't think putting in a guardrail that says you cant have a single-payer system is inconsistent with giving states flexibility. That's our job."

    South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is one of the co-authors of the healthcare bill, said he would be unlikely to support Kennedy's amendment.

    "You know federalism can't be on your terms," Graham said. "If California wants to go to single-payer health care plan, let them knock themselves out. I'm not here to tell people what's best for them, I'm here to give them a chance to decide other than somebody in this town."

    In addition, a Republican leadership aide suggested that telling states which programs they can or cannot implement would be antithetical to the bill's federalist principles, telling Business Insider that Kennedy's plan "flies in the face of" states' rights.

    However, Kennedy suggested his plan was not out of line and that barring states from choosing their own systems would not infringe on states’ rights.

    "To me it's not inconsistent with states' rights to say we're going to provide guardrails within which you can exercise your state rights and one of those is that you can't use this money to establish a single-payer system," he said. "Now, some say that can't happen under this bill and great, then they shouldn't mind the amendment."

    Whether Kennedy's support for the Graham-Cassidy bill hinges on whether it includes his amendment to prevent statewide single-payer programs from manifesting is unclear and a spokesperson for Kennedy was not immediately available for comment.

    "My litmus test has always been, is the replacement better than the Affordable Care Act and if I can answer yes, I will vote for it even though it's not perfect," Kennedy said. "My litmus test tells me that this bill passes muster and I will vote for it. But there are weaknesses in it that I would like to try to strengthen."

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    patty murray lamar alexander

    Negotiations between GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray on a bipartisan bill to stabilize the Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges collapsed Tuesday, Alexander said.

    "Senator Murray and I had hoped to agree early this week on a limited, bipartisan plan to stabilize 2018 premiums in the individual health-insurance market that we could take to Senate leaders by the end of the month," Alexander said in a statement. "During the last month, we have worked hard and in good faith, but we have not found the necessary consensus among Republicans and Democrats to put a bill in the Senate leaders' hands that could be enacted."

    The announcement comes at the same time Republicans in the Senate are mounting one last effort to repeal and replace the ACA, better known as Obamacare, with what's become known as the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson plan.

    The bipartisan bill had been taking shape following a series of hearings that included state-level insurance officials, health-policy experts, and governors. The participants offered a slew of ideas to help ensure that uncertainty was stripped out of the market for 2018 and to control costs for Americans.

    Insurers have cited increased political uncertainty as a factor for both increasing premiums in the Obamacare exchanges and pulling out of markets altogether. Alexander and Murray hoped to alleviate some of that uncertainty with new legislation.

    Influential Republicans including White House officials and the Senate Finance chair, Orrin Hatch, came out against the Alexander-Murray push, which helped doom the effort. House Speaker Paul Ryan said his chamber would not even consider a bipartisan stabilization bill.

    SEE ALSO: A bipartisan group of governors just blasted the new Republican healthcare bill — and it has a key addition

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    Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel once again waded into the healthcare debate on Tuesday, blasting the newest Republican attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and saying one of its authors lied directly to his face.

    Kimmel drew attention in June when he gave an emotional monologue about his newborn son's emergency open-heart surgery and how it gave him clarity on Congress' healthcare debate.

    Following the first plea, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana told Kimmel he would write a bill that would protect children with preexisting conditions, like Kimmel's son, from lifetime limits. The limits, before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law better known as Obamacare, allowed insurance companies to cap the total dollar amount of care they covered in a person's life.

    Under such rules, being in intensive care during infancy could leave children like Kimmel's unable to get insurance for the rest of their life. At times, the phenomenon has bankrupted families.

    "These insurance companies, they want caps, to limit how much they can pay out," Kimmel said. "So for instance, if your son has to have three open-heart surgeries, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece. If he hits his lifetime cap of — let's say, a million dollars — the rest of his life, he's on his own."

    Cassidy pledged to make sure that this would not come back under his system and that preexisting conditions would not cause people to be charged more. The senator dubbed this qualification the "Jimmy Kimmel test."

    But Kimmel said Cassidy's new bill, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson legislation, failed the test.

    "Not only did this bill fail the Jimmy Kimmel test, it failed the Bill Cassidy test," the host said. "It failed its own test, which you don't see very much. In fact, this bill is even worse than the one that thank god Republicans like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and John McCain torpedoed over the summer."

    In the new bill, most federal healthcare funding is handed to states in a large, up-front chunk called a block grant. States can then apply for what are known as 1332 waivers that allow states to relax some of Obamacare's regulations to bring down costs.

    While the new bill does not allow states to waive the requirement that keeps insurers from rejecting people with preexisting conditions altogether, the waivers could end up allowing insurers to charge sick people drastically more money for coverage, essentially pricing them out of the market.

    For that reason, Kimmel said the bill not only failed Cassidy's original Kimmel test but also created a new one.

    "This new bill actually does pass the Jimmy Kimmel test — but a different Jimmy Kimmel test," the late-night host said. "With this one, your child with a preexisting condition will get the care he needs if, and only if, his father is Jimmy Kimmel. Otherwise, you might be screwed."

    Kimmel said Republicans were trying to slip the bill through before the September 30 deadline (after which a bill would be subject to a Democratic filibuster) to placate insurance companies they take donations from.

    In addition to taking issue with the content of the new bill, Kimmel called out Cassidy specifically.

    "A senator named Bill Cassidy from Louisiana, was on my show and he wasn't very honest," Kimmel said, adding that he "just lied right to my face."

    Watch the video of Kimmel's monologue:

    SEE ALSO: Republicans' last-chance Obamacare repeal has a giant money problem

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    President Donald Trump on Wednesday offered an endorsement for the momentum-building Republican healthcare legislation, while also taking time to slam one of the new bill's opponents.

    "Rand Paul is a friend of mine but he is such a negative force when it comes to fixing healthcare,"Trump tweeted. "Graham-Cassidy Bill is GREAT! Ends Ocare!"

    The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson legislation would shift Medicaid funding to states in a block-grant system — a set amount based on the number of enrollees in certain healthcare programs.

    The current system for federal funding allocates money based on a percentage of the actual money spent by states, aimed at avoiding undershooting the needed amount because of unexpected costs.

    The new bill would also shift the formula by which states receive funds, meaning many states would lose billions over the next 10 years while others would gain. Overall, federal healthcare funding would decline by $80 billion through 2026, according to an estimate by the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

    Trump, in a tweet, was enthusiastic about the prospects of the block grants.

    "I hope Republican Senators will vote for Graham-Cassidy and fulfill their promise to Repeal & Replace ObamaCare," the president tweeted. "Money direct to States!"

    Paul, on the other hand, has argued the new bill would preserve large parts of the Affordable Care Act and does not fulfill the GOP's promise to repeal the law, better known as Obamacare. Incidentally, the bill would also slash funding to Kentucky, Paul's home state.

    SEE ALSO: The latest Republican Obamacare repeal is being pushed through the Senate at lightning speed

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    GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander announced Tuesday that bipartisan talks around a bill designed to stabilize the Obamacare individual insurance had fallen through, prompting calls of sabotage from top Democrats.

    "During the last month, we have worked hard and in good faith, but we have not found the necessary consensus among Republicans and Democrats to put a bill in the Senate leaders' hands that could be enacted," said Alexander, the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

    But Democrats say Republican leaders intentionally submarined the attempt to provide security for insurers and beneficiaries on the Obamacare marketplaces to aid a push for their newest Obamacare repeal bill — the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) plan.

    "I am disappointed that Republican leaders have decided to freeze this bipartisan approach and are trying to jam through a partisan Trumpcare bill, but I am confident that we can reach a deal if we keep working together — and I am committed to getting that done,"said Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the HELP Committee.

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's office also pinned the blame squarely on the Republican leadership for the failure of the talks.

    "This is not about substance. We gave them many of the things they asked for, including copper plans and wide waiver authority," Matt House, a spokesperson for Schumer, said in a statement. "The Republican leadership is so eager to pass Graham-Cassidy that they’re scuttling a balanced, bipartisan negotiation."

    Some top Republicans, like Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch and House Speaker Paul Ryan, publicly said they would not consider the bipartisan legislation from Alexander and Murray. The White House also reportedly pushed against the proposal.

    SEE ALSO: The bipartisan effort to fix Obamacare just collapsed

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    Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, on Wednesday responded to late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel's accusation that the senator lied to him about his Obamacare replacement legislation. 

    Kimmel, whose infant son was born with a life-threatening heart condition, said that Cassidy's new bill, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson legislation, fails to protect people with preexisting conditions – like his son – from lifetime caps on insurance coverage, wouldn't lower premiums for middle-class families, and fails to provide coverage for all. 

    Cassidy dismissed Kimmel's charges on CNN Wednesday morning. 

    "I am sorry he does not understand," Cassidy told host Chris Cuomo of CNN's "New Day." "Under Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson, more people will have coverage and we protect those with pre-existing conditions. States like Maine, Virginia, Florida, Missouri, there will be ... billions more dollars to provide health insurance coverage for those in those states who have been passed by Obamacare."

    Cuomo countered Cassidy, noting that critics argue the new bill would allow states to set their own rules for insurance companies.

    "It's not what it is now where you cannot allow insurance companies to cherry pick and punish people for preexisting conditions, so the protection is not the same, senator, on that one point," Cuomo said.

    But Cassidy insisted the protections under the new bill are "absolutely the same" as those under Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

    "There is a specific provision that says that if a state applies for a waiver, it must ensure that those with preexisting conditions have affordable and adequate coverage," Cassidy said.

    Cuomo then noted that the "schedule of what people might pay" won't be the same for certain people.

    Cassidy then said that some of that information is being circulated by "those who wish to preserve Obamacare."

    "They're doing everything they can to discredit the alternative," Cassidy said.

    After Kimmel delivered an impassioned retelling of his son's emergency open-heart surgery in May, Cassidy came on Kimmel's show and said that he would make sure any Obamacare replacement passes the "Jimmy Kimmel test"— a phrase the senator coined — protecting those with pre-existing conditions from lifetime caps. 

    But Kimmel argued on Tuesday night that Cassidy's new legislation doesn't pass the test.

    "Not only did this bill fail the Jimmy Kimmel test, it failed the Bill Cassidy test," the host said. "Listen, healthcare is complicated, it's boring, I don't want to talk about it, the details are confusing, and that's what these guys are relying on. They're counting on you to be so overwhelmed with all the information that you just trust them to take care of you, but they're not taking care of you, they're taking care of the people who give them money."  

    In Cassidy's bill, most federal healthcare funding is handed to states in a large, up-front chunk called a block grant. States can then apply for waivers that allow states to relax some of Obamacare's regulations to bring down costs.

    While the new bill does not allow states to waive the requirement that keeps insurers from rejecting people with preexisting conditions altogether, the waivers could end up allowing insurers to charge sick people drastically more money for coverage, essentially pricing them out of the market.

    For that reason, Kimmel said the bill not only failed Cassidy's original Kimmel test but also created a new one.

    "This new bill actually does pass the Jimmy Kimmel test — but a different Jimmy Kimmel test," the late-night host said. "With this one, your child with a preexisting condition will get the care he needs if, and only if, his father is Jimmy Kimmel. Otherwise, you might be screwed."

    Kimmel said Republicans were trying to slip the bill through before the September 30 deadline (after which a bill would be subject to a Democratic filibuster).

    In addition to taking issue with the content of the new bill, Kimmel called out Cassidy specifically.

    "A senator named Bill Cassidy from Louisiana was on my show and he wasn't very honest," Kimmel said, adding that he "just lied right to my face."

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also responded to Kimmel's criticism of the GOP bill, telling "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday that while she respects Kimmel's advocacy for his son, Obamacare is "collapsing" and the Republican replacement bill is a "great step forward."

    "Look, I certainly respect the position that he's in as a parent, he's speaking for the protection of his kid as he should do," Sanders said. "But at the same time we have to have a program that works and we know that that's not Obamacare — it's simply not sustainable, it's collapsing, there are some markets where they don't even have providers anymore."

    Bob Bryan contributed to this report. 

    SEE ALSO: Jimmy Kimmel slams new Republican healthcare bill, says its author lied to him

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    Republican senators are hurtling toward a vote on a healthcare bill by the end of September. But as they rush to get it to the Senate floor, they seem to be confused about what exactly it does.

    Not only is there no score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (and there won't be a full one before a vote), but many of the GOP senators who support the bill also seem to be unable to articulate its implications.

    Jeff Stein of Vox asked nine Republicans about the policy implications were of the new Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) legislation. Most answers indicated the senators favored a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a vague notion of handing power to states.

    For instance, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas compared the GCHJ to "the last stage [coach] out of Dodge City."

    "I’m from Dodge City. So it’s the last stage out to do anything,"Roberts told Vox. "Restoring decision-making back to the states is always a good idea, but this is not the best possible bill — this is the best bill possible under the circumstances."

    Roberts also compared the bill to the final scene of "Thelma and Louise," the film in which the titular character drives a car off a cliff to avoid being captured by police.

    "Look, we’re in the back seat of a convertible being driven by Thelma and Louise, and we’re headed toward the canyon,"Roberts said.

    "So we have to get out of the car, and you have to have a car to get into, and this is the only car there is," he said.

    While the bill does provide federal funding to states in upfront block grants instead of matching a percentage of funding after it has been spent, an analysis by healthcare consulting firm Avalere showed the bill would also cut the total amount spent on healthcare by the federal government by $215 billion through 2026.

    Additional analysis has showed the bill could loosen protections for people with preexisting conditions and undermine some individual health insurance markets. But the lack of a CBO score provides an absence of official certainty about the legislation's potential impact.

    One GOP aide admitted to Axios' Caitlin Owens that the members of the party are unsure about the GCHJ's effects.

    "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,"the aide said.

    Other senators say they are still evaluating the bill, just 10 days before it would need to be passed through both chambers of Congress to become law.

    "What I’m very focused on as we speak is figuring out the dollar amounts, frankly, and the formula and how it impacts my state," Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan told reporters.

    The other Alaska senator, Lisa Murkowski, who is seen as a major swing vote, also told reporters she that what she was trying to "figure out is the impact on my state."

    Others argue a more political imperative for the legislation: Republicans talked about repealing Obamacare constantly for seven years, and this attempt will likely be the last chance before the 2018 midterm elections.

    "If we do nothing, I think it has a tremendous impact on the 2018 elections," Roberts told Vox. "And whether or not Republicans still maintain control and we have the gavel."

    Sen. Chuck Grassley also told Vox that he wanted to return power to the states, but addressed the political issue as well.

    "The political answer is that Republicans have promised for seven years that we were going to correct all the things that were wrong with Obamacare, and we failed the first eight months," Grassley said. "This is the last attempt to do what we promised in the election."

    SEE ALSO: Jimmy Kimmel slams new Republican healthcare bill, says its author lied to him

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