Please see our update at the bottom of this post.
The relationship between John McCain and the GOP healthcare bill has to be right up there with Ross & Rachel in the list of great “will they or won’t they” cliffhangers. After voting down the Obamacare repeal bid in July, he now says that he’s not against a new plan devised by Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy. Unfortunately for the pair, McCain is one of the few Republicans who’s a fan of their latest attempt to swap out Obamacare for something else, and the bill’s chances have an expiration date of Sept. 30.
McCain still thinks the bill can pass, however, and that some eleventh hour oomph from state governors will persuade more GOP senators to get on board. He’s probably basing that assessment at least in part because Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is behind the latest draft, too. But to work, this plan needs all the help it can get from Republicans. The September 30th deadline is set by the reconciliation process, by which the GOP can push the bill through without Democratic support.
Speaking of Democrats, many in that party widely hailed McCain’s final vote on July’s so-called skinny healthcare bill a boon for his legacy. Given his own experience with treatment for brain cancer, some thought it would be heartless if he voted “yes” on the bill, which would have triggered the loss of health care coverage for millions of Americans. But he voted “no” at the last moment, a move that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) had the gall to imply was in some way linked to McCain’s brain tumor.
The latest version of the bill relies on block grants, which puts the onus on states to decide how they will spend a set amount of Medicaid funding and how they will make up the difference if they go over budget. Essentially, it allows the federal government to put a cap on healthcare spending without having to do the dirty work of figuring out whether it’s doctors, patients, insurance companies, or the state who pays.
UPDATE: McCain has issued a statement indicating that he’s not yet firmly committed to Senators Graham and Cassidy’s new Obamacare repeal plan.
(Via the Hill)