Republican Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham say Obamacare will soon be a thing of the past, when the latest draft of its replacement bill is introduced next week.
With the support of the U.S. President Donald Trump, Cassidy, Senator for Louisiana, says he hopes to win the majority vote and pass the legislation before the end of September, meeting the required minimum of 50 votes.
The bill, which Cassidy is sponsoring with Senator Graham of South Carolina, could revive Republican hopes of overturning the Affordable Care Act after four different Obamacare repeal plans were rejected in July with the final option coming up one vote short in a humiliating defeat for Trump and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
“Mitch has said that if we get 50 votes, he’ll hold a vote. I can tell you that the president’s all about it,” said Cassidy in an interview.
Details on the bill have still yet to be revealed, although it is known that the substitute initiative would allow states greater control over health care within their jurisdiction.
However, Cassidy did say the revised proposal will be similar to its predecessors, only with financial revisions allowed to states, providing a formula more agreeable to their individual economies.
“This literally would repeal and replace Obamacare with a fundamentally different approach," Graham told reporters.
“It is not easy to get 50-plus-one (votes). Everybody’s kind of got another idea. But I‘m open to it,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican.
Cassidy said the legislation has had support from White House officials including the Vice Preisdent Mike Pence, who he said had sought to rally the support of state governors.
Senator John McCain has publicly shown his tentative support for the bill, although he stated that, though he agrees with the idea in concept, he will reserve his official opinion until after he’s reviewed the final draft.
“While I support the concept of the Graham-Cassidy proposal, I want to see the final legislation and understand its impact on the state of Arizona before taking a position,” McCain said in that statement.
In an interview last week in Wisconsin, House Speaker Paul Ryan stated that the proposal "has got merit and has legs under it."
Graham and former Republican Senator Rick Santorum have held discussions with the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which played a key role in getting an Obamacare repeal bill through the House of Representatives earlier this year.
If approved in the Senate, the bill would need to be reconciled with the House legislation. Both chambers would then need to vote a second time.
Since Democrats oppose repealing Obamacare, Republicans need to use a parliamentary procedure known as reconciliation to move healthcare legislation on a simple majority through the Senate, which they control by a 52-48 margin. The tool that allows reconciliation is contained in a 2017 budget resolution that will expire with the fiscal year on September 30.