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Senators Graham and Cassidy Announce Their Own State-Based Obamacare Alternative Bill

14 July 2017

As in the previous version, this draft eliminates a fundamental principle of Obamacare - the requirement that nearly everyone obtain health insurance or face fines, according to a summary of the bill released by the Senate Budget Committee.

Lee tweeted Thursday morning that he had yet to see the latest draft, and can not confirm that his and Cruz' amendment was included. It's a travesty that premium payments are not tax-free for people who buy their own coverage, but they are for both the employer and employee contributions to job-provided health insurance.

Collins tweeted, "Still deep cuts to Medicaid in Senate bill".

Ducey has been working quietly to boost pressure on the senators, with his office releasing a letter to them outlining changes to the Medicaid proposal he is seeking and the state Medicaid agency releasing an analysis highlighting $7.1 billion in funding losses through 2026 under the current proposal.

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He also warned the bill lacked protections for employment, equality and environmental rights. Here are some of the key questions surrounding the legislation.

Other skeptical Republicans have been non-committal on the bill, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hopes to vote on next week. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would allow insurers to sell bare-bones health plans ("catastrophic care") as long as they also offer a plan that meets the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That version was projected to lower the deficit by billions over 10 years - but that may have changed as the latest version offers billions more for state grants and also doesn't repeal as numerous Obamacare taxes.

But with multiple defections on the Republican side, McConnell has also indicated a willingness to work with Democrats if his efforts fall short.

But even as McConnell prepared to unveil the latest version of the bill, Sens. But it remains to be seen whether he can satisfy moderates and hard-line conservatives in his party who have voiced opposition.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also announced he would vote no on the procedural motion.

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Graham told CNN his proposal idea is modeled on the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, which dismantled that federal entitlement program and replaced it with state block grants.

"A state like Vermont has expressed interest in a state-government run and financed single-payer system like they have in Canada", Mr. Graham said. Critics say it will cause costs for people with pre-existing conditions who need more services to rise sharply, undermining protections in place for them.

But the Senate still has a full workload in changing its health care bill enough to get 50 "yes" votes.

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Senators Graham and Cassidy Announce Their Own State-Based Obamacare Alternative Bill