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Podcast: Latest Obamacare Repeal Bill Unravels
The Week Ahead, Episode 71

Arizona Sen. John McCain with reporters in the basement of the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John McCain’s opposition to the latest Republican bill to repeal Obamacare may well kill it, says Roll Call Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski. CQ health reporter Mary Ellen McIntire explains what’s in the bill.

Show Notes:

McCain a ‘No’ on Latest Senate Health Care Bill
Arizona Republican says there is not enough time for debate

Arizona Sen. John McCain talks with reporters in the basement of the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Arizona Sen. John McCain said Friday that given the truncated timeline, he cannot vote for the health care repeal proposal floated by fellow Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana next week.

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it,” McCain said. “Without a full [Congressional Budget Office] score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.”

State Medicaid Directors Say Graham-Cassidy ‘Fails to Deliver’
Group that represents Medicaid directors in all 50 states says bill shouldn’t be rushed

From left, Sens. Bill Cassidy, Dean Heller, Ron Johnson and Lindsey Graham hold a news conference to discuss block grant funding for health care Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

State Medicaid directors voiced their opposition Thursday to the latest effort in the Senate to repeal the 2010 health care law.

The National Association of Medicaid Directors, a group that represents the directors of all 50 states, urged Senate Republicans to reconsider their support of the new repeal bill sponsored by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy.

Kimmel Slams Kennedy as ‘Inbred’ Over Health Care Bill
Late-night host also says Trump doesn’t understand health policy

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy was a target of late-night host Jimmy Kimmel’s ire of the latest GOP health care repeal effort. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kimmel said he did not claim to be a health care expert.

“I should not be the guy you go to for information about health care, and if these guys — like inbred John Kennedy — would tell the truth for a change, I wouldn’t have to,” he said.

Healthcare.gov Could Be Crippled Under Latest GOP Obamacare Repeal Proposal
The federal exchange marketplace would remain under the proposal, but largely in name only

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is part of a group sponsoring legislation that would dismantle current health care law, including a key mechanism for determining people's eligibility for subsidies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A federal health exchange the government spent over $1 billion to create would likely be made obsolete by the recent GOP proposal to gut the 2010 health law.

Policy experts say the Department of Health and Human Services would still be required to maintain healthcare.gov under the proposal from Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Dean Heller of Nevada. 

Trump Not Present, Still Center Stage at Alabama Senate Race
Strange and Moore showcase their closing arguments to voters

Judge Roy Moore has been leading in public polling. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The two GOP candidates in the Alabama Senate race came face-to-face Thursday night in an unusual debate, but President Donald Trump and his agenda took center stage.

The debate highlighted a central struggle in the race between Sen. Luther Strange, the candidate Trump has endorsed, and Judge Roy Moore, who has the backing of some of Trump’s allies and supporters who decry the D.C. establishment.

Survey Shows Support for Some Kind of Health Care Overhaul
Economist/YouGov survey finds Americans want changes to the system

Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed legislation to created a single-payer health insurance system. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate intends next week to consider yet another iteration of a bill to replace the 2010 health care law, the latest Economist/YouGov poll shows about one-third of those surveyed believe legislation should expand and fundamentally change the law.

Forty percent of respondents said they would support a single-payer system in which insurance comes from one government source financed by taxes, while 29 percent were opposed to that idea.

How Graham-Cassidy Stacks Up, in One Chart
Comparing the Senate GOP's latest plan, and the House-passed option, to current law

Senate leadership talks with reporters in the Capitol after the policy luncheons on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate leaders are considering an attempt next week to pass a repeal of the 2010 health care law, while chamber rules still allow for a 50-50 vote option. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., put together a proposal — after the chamber considered and rejected multiple other options this summer — that they hope will get the repeal over the finish line.

Republicans Head Into Alabama Senate Race Homestretch
Campaigns zero in on turning out supporters

Alabama Sen. Luther Strange is counting on visits by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to carry him to victory on Sept. 26. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The biggest names in the Republican Party — from President Donald Trump to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin —  will be heading south as the GOP primary runoff in the Alabama Senate race enters the homestretch. 

Sen. Luther Strange and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore have been fighting for the GOP nod to fill the remaining term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions, now Trump’s attorney general. As the top two contenders in the August primary, they advanced to the runoff, which in some ways has turned into a proxy battle within the Republican Party.

Analysis: Why Ryan Has Stepped Into the Senate Health Care Debate
Speaker has typically steered clear of offering advice or taking on other chamber

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has signaled the Graham-Cassidy health care measure in the Senate will get a House floor vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan doesn’t like to meddle in Senate affairs — except when he does.

Throughout July when the Senate was working through various proposals to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, Ryan frequently declined to comment on what the other chamber was considering.