Despite “fake news” claims that Republicans’ chance to repeal and replace Obamacare ends Saturday, that isn’t necessarily true, a conservative House member said Tuesday.
Obamacare repeal plan is “not dead on September 30th,” @RepThomasMassie says.
“Go back and look at the name of the Obamacare reconciliation vehicle in 2010,” Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., told reporters during lawmakers’ monthly Conversations With Conservatives event on Capitol Hill, referring to how Democrats pushed through the health care law without a single Republican vote.
Democrats combined education and health care, and “they did student loan reform, they used some of the savings on the Obamacare tweaking that they did,” Massie said.
“So you can absolutely do two things at once. It’s not dead on September 30th,” he said of dismantling Obamacare.
On Saturday, however, time runs out for Senate Republicans to use their current filibuster-blocking budgetary device to pass a bill to replace Obamacare with 50 votes.
The GOP has only 52 seats in the 100-seat upper chamber, and Massie’s fellow Kentucky Republican, Sen. Rand Paul, is one of four GOP votes against the latest version of the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill. The others are Susan Collins of Maine, Ted Cruz of Texas, and John McCain of Arizona.
The co-sponsors, Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, conceded Tuesday that their effort is done for now.
“We haven’t given up on changing the American health care system. We are not going to be able to do that this week,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday. “But it still lies ahead of us, and we haven’t given up on that.”
Massie also questioned the structure thus far of House and Senate Republicans’ unsuccessful bills to repeal and replace Obamacare, and how they seemed to cater to congressional Democrats, none of whom appears willing to vote for repeal.
“Why is it that every GOP repeal and replace bill includes a trillion-dollar federal health care program?” Massie said. “Who are we negotiating with if [Democrats] are not going to vote for it?”
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Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., told reporters that repeal and replace legislation isn’t “totally dead.” He said he hopes to have the opportunity to vote to repeal Obamacare in the near future.
“I would really love the chance at least once in my lifetime to repeal it,” Biggs said.
Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., showed support for the Graham-Cassidy bill during the event, despite saying the legislation has flaws.
“There’s no piece of legislation that’s ever going to be perfect,” Harris said. “But if this [is] the only piece of legislation we could get, it does accomplish the defederalization of the Affordable Care Act.”
Harris said his reasons for supporting the bill include its plan to take money that would have been sent directly to Medicaid and give it to states in the form of block grants for health care. He said he liked the bill’s reversal of “the increase in Medicaid, which is an out-of-control spending plan.”