GOP sweetens pot for health care bill

Sen. John Mc Cain  and Sen. Lindsey Graham hold a news conference to say they would not support a 'Skinny Repeal' of health care at the U.S. Capitol

In principle, Holtz-Eakin said he agrees with the bill's authors, Graham of SC and Cassidy of Louisiana, that federal health care spending is unsustainable and that the Obama-era law gives government too much control.

The hearing was suspended while demonstrators - some in wheelchairs - were escorted from the hearing room. The truth is that funding for expanding health coverage in Kentucky would be cut, protections for people with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, autism, and diabetes would be gutted, rural hospitals would be endangered, and Medicaid as we know it would end.

In other hearing news, bill co-author Bill Cassidy told a lie claiming that no bipartisan hearings have been held to improve on the current Obamacare system, and another lie about whether states, under his proposed legislation, would still be able to use federal funds to expand Medicaid, which they can't. But it appears they may still fall short of the 50 votes needed - along with the vice president as tie-breaker - to pass the bill.

The bill is the latest effort by GOP senators to scrap the Affordable Care Act, but has received lack luster support from even Republicans.

"Without John McCain, we already have the health care", Trump said. Ted Cruz have said through aides that they oppose the latest version of the bill. Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski is undecided but had opposed earlier GOP bills dismantling Obama's statute that the Senate rejected in July. The plan: * Payola for Alaska, Kentucky, Arizona and ME, with senators deeply skeptical.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to release a preliminary analysis of the legislation Monday afternoon.

Maybe, maybe not. It's worth noting that one of the bill's two chief sponsors, and its main public advocate, Lindsey Graham, is now joining hard-core conservatives in arguing that the Obamacare-repeal drive should get yet another bite at the apple after September 30 via the next, FY 2018 budget resolution.

"At some level, the Graham-Cassidy bill picks one of the biggest formula fights in history", Holtz-Eakin said.

The bill would eliminate federally financed subsidies for people buying insurance on the individual market as well as the Medicaid expansion.

The second part, seen as more far-reaching, would cap overall federal spending on the Medicaid program for low-income people, which now covers more than 70 million Americans, including many newborns, adults in low-wage jobs, disabled people, and many elderly nursing home residents.

Changes to the bill over the weekend would lessen the amount of that cut.

At the heart of the Graham-Cassidy bill is a massive shift in where federal funds for insurance subsidies and public health insurance programs would be directed, from states that embraced the ACA like NY and California to states that rejected it like Alabama and Georgia.

The bill would eliminate the requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.

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