September 19, 2017
Senate GOP Continues Push on Graham Cassidy Block Grant Bill
Update September 22 at 2:30 p.m.: Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has announced that he will oppose the Graham-Cassidy proposal, most likely ending Republican efforts to pass health care reform by September 30 while they only need a 50-vote majority. As of this publication, Senate Republican leadership has not released any updates to the schedule of hearings for next week. ASA will continue to monitor these developments and will post updates at www.asahq.org.
Republican leaders in the United States Senate continue to push to secure votes for the latest “repeal and replace” bill authored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA ). Hearings before two committees have been scheduled for next week to examine the block grant-based proposal.
Last week, Senators Graham and Cassidy , joined by Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) released the text of their proposal that would consolidate ACA-related funding and reallocate those funds through a state block grant formula. The proposal would provide states with renewed flexibility regarding ACA's requirements and phase-out the Medicaid expansion and cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments. The proposal would also repeal the individual and employer mandates.
On Monday, September 25, the Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing on the legislation. Additionally, a key piece of the Graham-Cassidy proposal, block grants, will get a hearing on Tuesday, September 26, in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, a committee which proposal co-sponsor Ron Johnson (R-WI) chairs.
While the Congressional Budget Office has said it will not be able to provide a full analysis of the bill for several weeks, it has said it will release a brief analysis of the bill early next week.
The success of this bill remains unclear. Senate Republicans have been hoping to reach an agreement on a proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act by September 30 in order to pass a bill under reconciliation procedural protections with only a 50-vote majority. The procedural protections expire at the end of the month. A handful of legislative efforts to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act have been defeated in the Senate so far this year.
Watch the Senate Finance Committee hearing here.
Watch the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing here.
A summary of the bill is available here.
Read more about efforts to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act here: asahq.org/healthcarereform