After John McCain theatrically cast the deciding vote to implode the GOP’s health care reform efforts at the end of July, it was reported that Republicans were shelving the campaign and moving on to tax reform. Since then, big news stories—Charlottesville, DACA, Chuck and Nancy—have all dominated the media’s attention. But for the last few weeks, Republicans have been quietly gearing up for one last attempt at repeal.
The Senate GOP has a September 30 deadline to pass an Obamacare repeal bill through reconciliation, which would require a simple majority rather than a filibuster-proof 60 votes. The legislation that is currently being considered is the Graham-Cassidy bill, which would turn Obamacare subsidies and Medicaid over to the states in the form of block grants. The ACA’s individual mandate would be cut. While the plan hasn’t been evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office yet—Senate Republicans are asking the office to expedite the score—it would undoubtedly cause millions of people to lose their insurance. As Sarah Kliff wrote at Vox, “Cassidy-Graham would arguably be more disruptive, not less, to the current health care system.”
On Sunday, it was reported that Mitch McConnell told Senate Republicans that if the bill has at least 50 votes, he will bring it to the floor. According to Politico, some Republicans believe that if the bill were to be put to a vote today, they would have 49 votes. That may be optimistic, and the bill still faces the same hurdles as its predecessors, in that any concession to either moderates or conservatives runs the risk of losing the support of the other. And then there is the fact that it would still have to pass through the House.
But with a looming deadline, Republicans are starting to feel the fire and may throw everything into one last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare. Activists, who are planning on a number of actions this week, are having difficulty making people aware of a threat that is looking more dire by the minute:
This time, the GOP’s main advantage might just be their last operatic failure, which left many thinking that repeal was soundly defeated. But when it comes to repeal, there is only one maxim to keep in mind: what is dead may never die.