The latest Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, dubbed the Graham-Cassidy Bill after its sponsors, faces a difficult path to 50 votes this week. The bill would need to pass this week in order to be eligible for parliamentary procedures that preclude a Democratic filibuster and allow passage by simple majority. The deadline to pass the bill under these rules is September 30.
The latest blow to the bill’s prospects came when Senator Ted Cruz expressed opposition to the bill, claiming that it did too little to increase the number of choices consumers would have for health insurance. Cruz also stated he was working with the bill’s sponsors on changes that would win his vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s road to 50 votes was always difficult, as the Democratic caucus remains united against it. Senator Susan Collins has opposed the bill on the suspicion that it will leave too many people uninsured, and Senator Lisa Murkowski is expected to vote no for similar reasons; both opposed this summer’s bill. Meanwhile, Senator Rand Paul opposed Graham-Cassidy for not going far enough to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The bill was dealt another blow late last week when Senator John McCain came out against it, reiterating his criticisms from July that the bill should be passed via the regular process of bipartisan committee hearings.
The bill is highly unusual in that it has not passed through the appropriate committees, nor has it been scored by the Congressional Budget Office. Because these processes have not been followed, it is difficult, if not impossible, to have any idea what the bill’s impact would be.