Sen. Collins and CBO Dim Prospects for Graham-Cassidy

UPDATE: As the Washington Post reports, Graham-Cassidy is pretty well dead:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who had been overseeing a raucous hearing on the proposal, said Monday evening that he would only allow one more round of questions given the bill’s predicament.

“Let’s face it, we’re not getting anywhere,” he remarked.


This cartoon is a few weeks old, but no less relevant.

Senate Republicans have managed to unite virtually the entire healthcare industry in opposition to their latest Obamacare repeal attempt. On Monday afternoon, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced its initial review of the Graham-Cassidy legislation at about the same time that Maine Sen. Susan Collins voiced her intention to vote no on the bill.

The decision by Sen. Collins is the proverbial nail in this coffin. And as National Public Radio (NPR) reports, the CBO’s new partial analysis of Graham-Cassidy gives Collins and other dissenters good reason to say “NO”:

The proposal the Senate is considering that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will result in millions losing health insurance and a $133 billion reduction in the deficit by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s report on the Graham-Cassidy legislation.

The CBO did not have enough time to estimate specifically how many people’s insurance would be affected as they have done when they have scored previous repeal bills. But, the analysis it released Monday evening says, “the number of people with comprehensive health insurance that covers high-cost medical events would be reduced by millions” compared to current law. [Pols emphasis]…

…CBO says it can’t do a complete analysis of the plan in the short window requested by lawmakers. Senate Republicans are looking to vote on the bill this week, before a deadline at the end of September would require they get support from Democrats to be able to pass the legislation.

Earlier proposals to overhaul the health care system failed in part because the CBO analyses showed tens of millions of people were likely to lose insurance coverage because of the proposed changes. The major drivers of those losses, according to the CBO, were the loss of the individual mandate that requires people to buy insurance and the rollback of the expansion of Medicaid that was allowed under Obamacare.

The latest proposal includes both provisions, so some analysts say the results will be the same.

Senate leadership is still trying to figure out what to do with Graham-Cassidy, but Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said this afternoon that he doubted there would even be a floor vote on the legislation.

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenver says:

    This is good news … I'd be delighted to forego the drama of a floor vote this week, even if it does let Sen. Gardner take the place of Schrödinger's cat and maintain his paradoxical position on the issue. 

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    Maybe even the Republicans finally don't appreciate the Republican bill sponsors trying to game the numbers and hold their own colleague's votes for ransom . . .



  3. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    The Sanders / Graham debate last night seemed shockingly informative and wonky. I didn't actually watch it, as I don't have cable now, and was coming down with a cold. Did anyone see it, and if so, what are your thoughts?


    • DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

      Didn't watch it, read the notes you linked. I did catch a few minutes of Senate Finance yesterday, and found Merkly to be spot on with his criticisms (harms patients to please donors,) Graham to be angry about how bad ACA has been to SC (when the state went all in for it to fail,) and Cassidy to be mendacious (no state with Medicaid expansion loses funds.)

      My one take-home from the debate summary is around the Charlie Gard nonsense. I feel that if the parents had the money to fly their kid to another country for further treatment (pointless torture?) they should be allowed to. The state had a point that this was unethical experimentation on an unwilling subject, but there is a fine line to be balanced regarding parental rights. The right wing complains that liberalism makes you the property of the state, and this only reinforces that notion.

      Still, this kid was born with a fatal illness.  He was dying, if not already dead when he became famous. The experimental treatment his parents wanted to pay for would not have saved his life. One day of his NICU hospitalization could have paid for countless primary care screenings, antibiotics, cholesterol drugs, vaccines, etc. Unless we're going to pay for everything in healthcare for every patient, decisions have to be made on cost-benefit at some level. Uncle Sam, or the CEO of Aetna are rationing alike. Saying single-payer/socialized medicine/Medicare for all leads to children being killed by an uncaring state is horribly dishonest.

      • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

        Thank you, Dr. Daft – good to hear from an expert on the ethical issues in the Charlie Gard story. Cory Gardner's brought in Charlie Gard, too, to say that liberals want "death panels" and to "ration care", or that the government somehow is taking the place of a child's parents.

  4. DavieDavie says:

    We need to keep in mind the GOP's endgame here — it's all about giving the Koch Brothers and gang their blood money:

    The sheer awfulness of health care repeal—which has not been helped by the fact that Republicans have insisted on coupling repeal with massive tax cuts for the wealthy—has doomed every effort to pass legislation over the past year. Donald Trump is reportedly fired up to give tax breaks to the rich, but it’s not clear that Republicans have what it takes to pass a massive tax cut either. Republicans lack the political capital to get things done, partly because Trump is so unpopular and partly because the things they’ve tried to do have been so unpopular.

    Republicans now think that if they combine two things that they haven’t been able to pass on their own, then success will follow. We’ve learned this year that Obamacare will never be safe as long as Republicans are in power—Graham-Cassidy will surely not be the last attempt to repeal it. But we can take some small comfort in the fact that Republicans are clearly running out of ideas about how to repeal Obamacare.

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