KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

‘We Don’t Have The Votes’: Senate Republicans End Latest Push For Replacement Bill

Republican efforts to pass a repeal-and-replace plan by Sept. 30 are over, as Senate leaders halt their plan to hold a vote this week on the Graham-Cassidy bill.

The Associated Press: The Latest: No Vote This Week On GOP Health Care Bill
Senate Republicans will not vote this week on the latest, last-ditch effort to repeal and replace Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. That’s the word from senators as they emerged from a closed-door meeting on Tuesday. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona shook his head and said “no” when asked about plans for a vote. (9/26)

The New York Times: McConnell Says Republicans Are Giving Up On Health Bill
Senator Mitch McConnell on Tuesday officially pulled the plug on the latest plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, telling senators they will not vote on the measure and effectively admitting defeat in the last-gasp drive to fulfill a core promise of President Trump and Republican lawmakers. Mr. McConnell’s announcement came less than 24 hours after a pivotal Republican senator, Susan Collins of Maine, declared firm opposition to the repeal proposal, all but ensuring that Republican leaders would be short of the votes they needed. (Kaplan, 9/26)

Bloomberg: Senate GOP Kills Health-Care Bill, Ending Obamacare Repeal Quest
Senate Republicans gave up on their last-ditch proposal to repeal Obamacare Tuesday as opposition in their own ranks ended months of fruitless efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act. "We don’t have the votes," bill co-sponsor Bill Cassidy of Louisiana told reporters in Washington. "We’ve made the decision, since we don’t have the votes, we’ll postpone that vote." (Litvan and Dennis, 9/26)

Politico: Senate Won’t Vote On Last-Ditch Obamacare Repeal Bill
Vice President Mike Pence told Republicans they should keep working on health care and not give up just because a key procedural deadline to pass the bill with a simple majority expires after Sept. 30. "He does want us to keep working," said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). "He's conveyed it outside of that meeting [too]. The votes aren't there so let's keep massaging." However, Republicans may not opt to pursue a health care overhaul and tax code rewrite simultaneously, as some GOP lawmakers desire. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said it's it's better to "focus on taxes right now." (Kim, Haberkorn and Everett, 9/26)

The Washington Post: Senate GOP Abandons Latest Effort To Unwind The Affordable Care Act
Top Republicans, however, also indicated they have little interest in shoring up the existing insurance market operating under the 2010 law. Instead, they suggested, the ongoing instability would backfire on Democrats and build momentum for the ACA’s eventual repeal. “I personally think it’s time for the American people to see what the Democrats have done to them on health care,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah). “They’re going to find they can’t pay for it, they’re going to find that it doesn’t work. . . . Now that will make it tough on everybody. Maybe that’s what it take to wise people up.” (Sullivan, Eilperin and Snell, 9/26)

The Hill: Senate Won't Vote On ObamaCare Repeal Bill
"We don't have the votes so it's probably best we don't do the vote," said Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.). "We've lost this battle, but we're going to win the war." Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also acknowledged his conference does not have the 50 Republican votes necessary to muscle the bill through the Senate."There's more work to be done. I mean we don't yet have 50 votes. I think we're close and we need to continue working," he said. (Bolton, 9/26)

Reuters: Obamacare Repeal In U.S. Senate Collapses As Republicans Falter
Several Republican senators said there will be no vote in the Senate after some lawmakers withheld support for the measure. “We basically ran out of time,” said Senator Ron Johnson. Senator Pat Roberts, another Republican, told reporters the party would target healthcare “in some form” later in the current legislative session. (Cornwell, 9/26)

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