Senate Republicans are trying a last-ditch Obamacare repeal

A new bill by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana would roll back Obamacare

By Matthew Rozsa

Published September 18, 2017 7:50AM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Like a slasher killer from a bad horror movie, the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare keeps getting knocked out but won't stay dead.

The latest effort has been dubbed the Graham-Cassidy bill, named after co-sponsors Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, according to The Washington Post. Other co-sponsors include Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Dean Heller of Nevada.

The bill itself would force millions of Americans off of their insurance by substituting Obamacare's tax subsidies with block grants, reducing the Medicaid expansion program and eliminating the individual mandate, according to Politico. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping to corral at least 50 votes behind the measure before introducing it to the Senate floor before Sept. 30.

That date is particularly important for parliamentary reasons — if the bill is to be passed through the process of budget reconciliation, which only requires 50 votes in order to do so, it would need to reach the floor before the expiration date of Sept. 30. After that, no Obamacare repeal could be passed in this session, which lasts until January 2019, without a filibuster-proof 60 votes, which means at least eight Democratic senators would have to support the GOP measure — an exceptionally unlikely prospect.

Not surprisingly, a number of Senate Democrats have taken to Twitter to denounce the latest repeal effort, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer chronicling them on his own Twitter page.

"This has been building up for a while. Definitely worth keeping an eye on it, but still hard to see where they get the 50th vote," said Axios' David Nather. "It's not impossible that they get McCain. For everything he's said about 'regular order,' he's still friends with Lindsey Graham. But Rand Paul has been tweeting nasty stuff — it's Obamacare Lite, etc. So unless you flip Collins or Murkowski, hard to see it happening."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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