What the Latest GOP Health Care Plan Could Mean for Texans

WASHINGTON -- Texas could see billions in new but temporary federal aid under a GOP health care proposal gaining steam in the Senate, part of a last-ditch effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.Republican supporters say the measure -- led by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Lousiana Sen. Bill Cassidy -- gives states greater flexibility in devising their own health care systems and overhauls a bloated federal safety net.But critics -- including Democrats and health care advocacy groups -- say the short-term boost for states like Texas aren’t worth the long-term effects of the bill, which would make steep reductions in Medicaid spending, end ACA subsidies that help low- and middle-income Americans buy insurance and roll back key health care protections for people with pre-existing conditions. That, they say, will endanger health care coverage for millions.Until recently, the bill -- also sponsored by GOP Sens. Dean Heller of Colorado and Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin -- was largely dismissed as unlikely to garner the 50 votes it needs by Sept. 30th. That’s the deadline for passing the measure via reconciliation, a legislative procedure that allows for a simple majority, instead of a 60-vote filibuster. Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate.But on Tuesday, a White House official signaled that President Donald Trump would sign the measure if it cleared both chambers. Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who last week was lukewarm over its chances, hailed the Graham-Cassidy effort to reporters as “Lazarus raised from the dead."Opponents -- including several physician and health care advocacy groups, including the American College of Physicians and American Heart Association -- have launched a frenzied campaign to defeat the bill. On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned the effort could upend the burgeoning relationship between his party and Trump.Republicans, meanwhile, are whipping votes to make good on a long-held pledge to undo the ACA. But Senate leaders have yet to commit to a vote, eager to avoid a repeat of their July setback.Then, Arizona Sen. John McCain stunned his colleagues by joining Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski in voting down a so-called skinny repeal effort. None have said how they’ll vote on the latest bill, though Collins has expressed worry over the measure.  Continue reading...

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