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National Govt & Politics
After McCain - What's next on health care in the U.S. Congress
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After McCain - What's next on health care in the U.S. Congress

After McCain - What's next on health care in the U.S. Congress
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

After McCain - What's next on health care in the U.S. Congress

With Friday's decision by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to oppose a last-ditch GOP proposal to overhaul the Obama health law, Republicans have almost run out of time to make substantive changes to Obamacare by a September 30 deadline for action under a special expedited procedure that did not allow for a Senate filibuster, again dealing the President and GOP leaders a bitter defeat on an issue they've campaigned on for the last seven years.

Here's what can still happen over the next week - and in coming months on Capitol Hill.

1. There could still be a vote on Graham-Cassidy. While Sen. McCain has made clear that he won't vote for the plan from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), it's possible that the Senate could still go on the record on the matter. Aides to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this week that he planned to force a vote, and that could still happen, to clearly show who was for the plan, and who was not. But for now, it seems like the GOP will fail to get anything done on this signature campaign issue, with McCain, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) definitely against the plan - and two others, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) leaning against.

2. It could re-start bipartisan health talks. Up until last week, when GOP interest suddenly surged in the Graham-Cassidy plan, there had been increasing efforts to find some kind of agreement between Senators in both parties on ways to make some short term improvements in the Obama health care system for those in the individual and non-group insurance market. Those efforts were put on the shelf in recent days, but now this development leaves an opening for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

3. GOP health care efforts are certainly not dead. Just because the Graham-Cassidy plan has seemingly fallen short, that doesn't mean Republicans will give up on their plans to change the Obama health law. For the next fiscal year, the GOP wants to use the budget reconciliation process to pass something on tax cuts and tax reform. Well - there is no reason that they can't also try to add a health care bill onto that measure as well. One Senate official told me exactly that a few weeks ago. So, this battle is not over.

4. Republicans just weren't ready for this process. Maybe the biggest lesson from the after-action report on GOP health care bills over the last nine months is a simple one - Republicans were not ready with their own plan to replace the Obama health law, even though they had been talking about this for seven straight years. Ever since the law was signed by President Obama, Republicans had promised to repeal it, and do something different. As a slogan it sounded great - but as we saw in recent weeks, getting the exact details was something different.

5. Democrats have also had 7 years to make improvements. Just as the GOP failed in rallying around a single plan, Democrats also didn't exactly ring the bell in recent years on how best to improve the Obamacare system. Yes, they admit, things aren't working perfectly, but they certainly haven't been talking about what exactly should change, or might be changed. Could we see something different now that Graham-Cassidy seems to be dead? Or will Democrats still just sort of circle the wagons to protect President Obama's top legislative accomplishment? This is the time for bipartisan action - but that's easier said than done.

Read More

News

  • A woman is accused of assaulting a 70-year-old Houston parking enforcement volunteer who was writing her father -- a double amputee -- a ticket for not having a disabled permit placard, KTRK reported. >> Read more trending news  Jade Williams, 18, was charged with misdemeanor assault for the Tuesday incident, according to the Harris County Pct. 5 Constable's Office.  David Hansen said he was writing a citation when the SUV owner and his daughters confronted him about it, KPRC reported. 'Then she wanted to fight me,' Hansen told KTRK. 'She's walking around going, 'Come on, let's fight.' I kept retreating all the way back to my truck, and when I got to my truck, she, with an open hand, slapped my face and that's when I called 911.'  Williams’ father, Byron Williams, was wearing a prosthetic leg at the time of the incident, KTRK reported. He also lost his arm in a motorcycle accident. 'He started swinging,' Williams told the television station. 'Yes, he pushed my dad and when he pushed my dad, my dad backed up, like my dad was about to fall, and I said, 'Don't put your hands on him.''  In a statement, Houston city officials said they were “very upset to hear about this incident,” KPRC reported. Williams denies she hit Hansen.  'He's trying to make it seem like since I'm young, I assaulted an elderly person,' Williams told KTRK. 'That's not me. I'm a very respectful person.' 
  • Who will sit on the Iron Throne when “Game of Thrones” ends its run later this year? You can -- well, sort of. >> Read more trending news  A student at a Kentucky welding school built a 200-pound replica of the Iron Throne as a wedding gift for his wife, WLKY reported. He is also renting it out, the television station reported. Michael Hayes is a student at the Knight School of Welding in Louisville. He and his instructors spent nearly 110 hours over two months to craft the throne, which includes 400 swords, WLKY reported. The school funded the project, which cost $7,000. The throne is not made of iron or steel, but aluminum, otherwise “it would pretty much stay wherever it sat,' Hayes told the television station. Hayes said he made the throne as a wedding gift for his wife, Kacie Hayes. 'The show is one of the first things my wife and I bonded over,” Michael Hayes told WLKY. “It's a really important thing to us.” >>  Social media reacts to season premiere of ‘Game of Thrones’ The throne was a centerpiece at the Hayes’ wedding, and the couple struck a pose similar to ones by “Game of Thrones” characters Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. 'Besides the awesome fact that my wife pretty much does look like Daenerys, especially when she's in her get-up,” Michael Hayes told WLKY. “It made it all the more awesome when I could see her sitting in the throne and doing her thing. It's just been awesome.” Hayes said if you want to rent the throne, email him at mqhayes1@yahoo.com, WLKY reported.
  • “I am in the middle of the expressway with a donkey,” an Illinois deputy said Wednesday, agitated as she called for backup. >> Read more trending news  The Cook County Sheriff’s deputy was not referring to a driver on I-90. She was seeking help after a real donkey escaped from a trailer shortly before noon, WBBM reported. Body cam footage showed the deputy trying to coax the donkey, named Dusty, to the side of the road, away from vehicles barreling down the interstate, the television station reported. “Come here, come here, sweetie,” the deputy told the donkey. She then radioed her dispatcher, telling officials that “You wanna call the state or something, somebody lost their donkey, county,” WMAQ reported. >> Two donkeys found mauled to death in Louisville According to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office Twitter account, Dusty, was safely returned to his owner.
  • An Australian man rescued his 14-month-old son Friday, after the child was dragged away from his bed by a wild dingo, 9News Australia reported. >> Read more trending news  The toddler was sleeping inside a camper on a remote area of Fraser Island in Queensland when two of the wild dogs entered the vehicle. One of them bit the child’s neck, Radio New Zealand reported. Paramedic Ben Du Toit said the dingo began dragging the child into the bush, 9News Australia reported. 'The parents awoke with the toddler crying and heard the crying getting further away from the campervan,' Du Toit told the network. The child’s father ran outside and rescued the boy from the jaws of the dog, CNN reported. The boy suffered two deep cuts to the top of his neck and minor cuts to his scalp, Radio New Zealand reported. He was airlifted to a hospital for treatment and was in stable condition, CNN reported. 'If it wasn't for the parents and their quick thinking and fighting off the dingoes, he probably would have had more severe injuries,' Lifeflight pilot Frank Bertoli said at a news conference.
  • A Texas woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to stealing $1.3 million from the Fort Worth Stockyards Rodeo, using the money to finance vacations and two motorcycles, WFAA reported. >> Read more trending news  D’Ann Elizabeth Wagner, of Fort Worth, was a bookkeeper for the rodeo, the television station reported. She was sentenced in Tarrant County District Court. According to prosecutors, Wagner used a PayPal account on the rodeo’s website she set up and was linked to her personal information, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. PayPal issued a debit card to manage the money, which Wagner used for her personal use, the newspaper reported. Investigators found more than 11,000 transactions between January 2014 and March 2017, totaling more than $1.3 million. She used the money for vacations and gambling, bought two Harley-Davidson motorcycles and made other unspecified purchases, WFAA reported. “This defendant stole more than six times the minimum threshold for this first-degree felony charge,” Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Brooke Panuthos said in a statement. “She had 11,000 chances to stop her criminal behavior and stop stealing from employers who trusted her. She showed no conscience and no remorse for her actions.”
  • A Michigan man accused of intentionally shooting his 2-year-old son in the face was arraigned in court Thursday, MLive reported. >> Read more trending news  Michael Christopher Glance, 32, is charged with three counts each of assault with intent to murder and felony firearms, the website reported. He is being held in lieu of a $10 million bond, WILX reported. The incident occurred in Blackman Township on Tuesday, the television station reported. It happened while Glance allegedly was arguing with Nicole McCarthy, the boy’s mother, MLive reported. “For whatever reason, Mr. Glance decided to take his anger out on his 2-year-old child that day,” Jackson County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kati Rezmierski said in court. During an argument between the couple, Glance allegedly held a pistol to his son’s temple and pulled the trigger, Rezmierski said. The gun did not fire, she said. McCarthy took the boy to her car and put him in his car seat, MLive reported. She was getting ready to leave when Glance allegedly came out of the couple’s home with a shotgun and fired at their son, according to the website. The child was taken to a hospital and was in critical condition, WILX reported.