Baldwin and Johnson sign on to opposing health care bills

Ron Sachs- CNP  Sipa USA  Newscom

Today, Senators Graham, Cassidy, Heller, and Johnson introduced yet another bill that would repeal and replace major portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and drastically cut Medicaid funding.

The senators are planning to use budget reconciliation rules - a legislative loophole that requires only 50 yes votes - to pass their bill.

And Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin is supporting Senator Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All bill.

Perhaps the best way to understand Graham-Cassidy is as a version of the earlier Cassidy-Collins "let the states do what they want" approach with a lot less money. The bill, backed by Lindsey Graham of SC, would combine funding for Medicaid and Obamacare's subsidies into a block grant to the states. "I haven't heard anybody talking about it". Rick Santorum - jointed them at a Capitol Hill news conference.

No December debt ceiling vote: Congress won't vote again this year to raise the debt ceiling, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says.

If the plan is to work, it must first get a "score" from the Congressional Budget Office to determine if it would reduce the federal deficit over 10 years. States would have the ability to roll back protections for vulnerable populations - especially those living with HIV and hepatitis.

The committee met last Wednesday to hear from state insurance commissioners, last Thursday to hear from governors, and on Tuesday to hear from state flexibility experts.

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Dr. Jack Ende, president of the American College of Physicians (ACP), said the proposal fails to meet ACP criteria to ensure that patient health is improved - not harmed - by changes to current law.

The committee's Democrats in a letter to Brady dated last Friday request that the panel hold hearings, and cite the Senate Health Committee's hearings this month as an example. It takes us off the path to single payer health care - which would be a disaster - and puts us on a path toward local control. The state waivers would allow insurers to "vary premium rates for health insurance coverage" but not "based on an individual's sex or membership in a protected class under the Constitution of the United States". In effect, this would mean less money for expansion (mostly blue) states, and more money for non-expansion (mostly red) states. President Donald Trump expressed his support for the renewed effort Wednesday afternoon.

However, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., declined to support the bill, saying she continues to fight to preserve Obamacare and fix portions of the law that are in need of repair.

While Trump offered the bill's sponsors some encouragement later in the afternoon, he stopped short of endorsing their plan.

Yet Senate leaders are taking a hands-off approach to the bill as a September 30 deadline approaches.

"Bernie, this ends your dream of a single-payer health care system", he said.

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