It’s official. Senate Republicans will hold a vote on repealing Obamacare next week, announced on Wednesday, and while they may not have enough votes yet President Trump says the bill “has a very good chance” at passing, reports the Washington Times.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will put pressure on the handful of holdouts to either get on board or else explain why the conservative base is standing in their way of fulfilling a campaign promise.
“Certainly we’re at 47 or 48 … senators, and a lot of others are looking at it very positively,” said Trump when he was in New York for the recent U.N. General Assembly.
McConnell, who has failed twice now to get a repeal bill passed on the senate floor, has been pushed ahead even with no guarantee of passage again.
The new bill would pool money being subsidized for Obamacare customers and expand Medicaid in parts of the country and then siphoned back to states as block grants.
In total, the plan would slash federal funding to the states by $215 billion through 2026, stated in a study from a Washington-based consultancy that found less than a third of states would have increase in funding compared with the current law.
“The Graham-Cassidy bill would significantly reduce funding to states over the long-term, particularly for states that have already expanded Medicaid,” said Caroline Pearson, senior vice president at Avalere. “States would have broad flexibility to shape their markets but would have less funding to subsidize coverage for low and middle-income individuals.”
Those numbers for federal funding could be the downfall for the bill though, with many Republican governors complaining that senators have become to attached to federal cash.
Five Republicans governors have already signed onto a bipartisan letter to Trump on Tuesday, one being New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Trump ally, because it would take money away from his state.
West Virginia is expected to lose $1 billion to the new bill and Florida and North Carolina would lose funding partly because many of their residents had signed up and received subsidies to buy plans on Obamacare’s exchanges.
But Republicans led Midwestern and Southeast states would still fair better than Democrat-led ones, like California who would lose nearly $80 billion.
House Minority leader and California Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, said the new bill was a “stinkeroo” and would try to rally blue-state republicans to join democrats in opposing the bill.
What bill supporters have been saying though is that the bill would shift the power from Washington to the states. But the bill is a break with other Republican repeal efforts, which replaced Obamacare’s exchange subsidies with less-generous tax credits and slowly scaled down federal funding for states that expanded Medicaid.
“The main insurers lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans, said it opposes Graham-Cassidy because it doesn’t do enough to bolster the private markets and Medicaid or protect sick customers. It also fails to repeal the tax on health insurers or prevent states from pursuing government-run single-payer systems, the lobby said.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is the only senator to publicly announce his opposition to the new bill saying that it doesn’t do enough to gut Obamacare.
Among other Republican holdouts, Sens. Susan M. Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona haven’t said how they will vote. The three-sided with Democrats to kill a limited repeal bill in July as well, so they have been known to betray the GOP before.
McCain told Politico on Wednesday that he still wanted “regular order,” which is Capitol-speak for an orderly and open debate that eventually goes through committees and compels bipartisanship.
“Nothing has changed,” he told the outlet. “If McConnell wants to put it on the floor, that’s up to McConnell.”