Republicans will face Bernie Sanders in CNN health care debate

CNN will host a town hall debate ahead of a major health care vote, as Republicans look to finally repeal Obamacare

Published September 22, 2017 9:41AM (EDT)

Bernie Sanders   (Reuters/Carlo Allegri)
Bernie Sanders (Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

A leaked analysis from the Trump administration found that states represented by Republicans senators who have expressed the most resistance to the GOP's continued efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act are also the biggest losers in this latest attempt. According to a new estimate obtained by Axios from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, states like Alaska, Arizona, and Ohio could lose nearly 40 percent of federal funding for premium subsidies and Medicaid by 2026 under the Graham-Cassidy proposal.


On Monday, the Republican crafters of that bill, Sens. Lindsey Graha, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., will have a chance to explain why that is during a nationally televised debate with Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders. CNN will host the primetime town hall that will also feature Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar. Moderated by CNN's Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, the lawmakers will have 90 minutes to face off against each other and face questions from the audience.


Graham and Cassidy have raced to whip up support for their new health care legislation that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. The bill completely "dismantles the Medicaid expansion and the system of subsidies to help people afford insurance," according to the New York Times. "It gives the states the right to waive many of the consumer protections under President Obama’s landmark health law. And it removes the guaranteed safety net that has insured the country’s poorest citizens for more than half a century."

The Republicans are looking to bring the vote to the Senate floor next week and would need to pass before Sept. 30 because special budget rules currently allow the bill to pass with just 50 votes. If it's not passed by the deadline, it would require votes from 60 senators, which would be near impossible for the Republicans to accomplish.

An official score from the Congressional Budget Office will not be completed before the deadline, but according to the Commonwealth Fund, the legislation would likely throw millions of people off their health insurance with at least 32 million losing coverage by 2026.

On the other hand, Sanders recently introduced his "Medicare for All" plan with the backing of 16 Democrats. The bill is dead on arrival in the Senate, but it marks an ambitious step towards guaranteeing coverage to every American.

"The Sanders bill would cover all medical procedures for every American, sans co-payments, and doctors would be reimbursed by the government," Salon has reported. "Private insurers would exist to cover elective procedures like plastic surgery, but that's it."

By Charlie May

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