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Competing plans deal Senate health-care push a surprise setback
The Senate GOP’s push to rewrite the Affordable Care Act suffered an ill-timed setback Thursday, as two centrist Republicans announced plans to offer their own health-care plan just as leaders released an updated bill of their own.
The move by Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) to debut their health-care proposal on CNN moments before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was set to brief members demonstrated how divided the majority remains in its quest to overhaul former president Barack Obama’s signature health-care law.
In a joint interview with CNN on Thursday, Cassidy and Graham said that they would take the billions of dollars the federal government now receives in taxes under the ACA and direct that revenue to the states.
“We’re going to see which one can get 50 votes,” Graham said, referring to the number of GOP senators needed to approve any bill in the Senate, given that Vice President Pence is prepared to cast the tiebreaking vote. Referring to McConnell, he added, “We’re not undercutting Mitch; he’s not undercutting us.”
Graham said he would vote for a procedural motion to start debate on the bill but that he is still working on changes to make the legislation more palatable for states like Nevada that accepted Medicaid expansion.