By Clifton Leaf and Sy Mukherjee
September 19, 2017

Greetings, readers! This is Sy.

The Senate GOP may be just one vote shy of passing yet another version of Obamacare repeal. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Dean Heller of Nevada, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, would fundamentally restructure not just Obamacare’s markets and mandated medical benefits, but the massive Medicaid program that serves the nation’s poor (and which was significantly expanded under the Affordable Care Act).

There’s no official Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the legislation yet and even a preliminary one won’t be available until next week. But the Senate has planned at least one hearing to debate the bill, and its sponsors are essentially arguing that a full CBO write-up won’t be necessary for Senators to make up their minds.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has a helpful comparison of what Graham-Cassidy would do relative to Obamacare. Some of the biggest changes would be to Medicaid, whose funding would be sharply rolled back under the bill and likely lead to tighter eligibility requirements, less generous benefits, or both. That would also mean expected coverage losses.

As of now, at least two GOP Senators are expected to oppose the legislation: Rand Paul of Kentucky, who doesn’t consider it a “true” Obamacare repeal, and Maine’s Susan Collins, who has been highly skeptical of Medicaid cuts. Just one more “nay” vote would kill the bill. But it’s unclear whether Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski or Arizona’s John McCain will vote, once again, to shelve a party-line health overhaul. Arizona’s governor has endorsed Graham-Cassidy while Alaska’s governor opposes it. And McCain has previously argued that wide-ranging health legislation should be done in “regular order” and through a bipartisan committee process.

Will that be enough to stop Obamacare repeal in its tracks yet again? Only time will tell.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


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