John McCain supports block granting healthcare money to the states

Sen. John McCain, R-Az., said he would vote for an Obamacare repeal bill that block grants healthcare money to states.

McCain made waves in late July when he voted against a “skinny” repeal bill that just gutted some parts of Obamacare. Congressional efforts to repeal Obamacare have been on hold, but conservatives are hoping for another shot.

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, and Dean Heller of Nevada sponsored the proposal that was unveiled before the “skinny” repeal vote. The skinny bill was intended to just be a vehicle to kick start talks with the House on a new Obamacare repeal bill.

McCain told reporters on Wednesday he thought Graham-Cassidy-Heller was a “good proposal and I think we ought to support it.”

He later clarified his comments in a statement, saying that he would need to work with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on determining its impact.

“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,” he said.

He repeated that he still believed healthcare legislation needed to occur through open hearings, debates and amendments, the absence of which had led to his vote against the “skinny” Obamacare repeal in July.

Key conservatives have also come out in favor of it, chief among them Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus.

It still remains unclear if Republicans can get a vote on the bill before the end of the month when a budget resolution expires. The resolution was the framework for Republicans to use a procedural tool in the Senate called reconciliation to get a bill through the Senate with only 51 votes instead of 60 needed to break a filibuster.

The budget resolution outlining the instructions for using reconciliation expires at the end of September. Republicans would have to pass a new resolution starting in October, at the start of the new federal fiscal year.

McCain didn’t say whether the bill could pass by the end of the month.

There are several unanswered questions on Graham-Cassidy-Heller.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has not scored how the bill would impact insurance coverage or the federal deficit. Any bill that seeks to use reconciliation needs to reduce the federal deficit.

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John McCain supports block granting healthcare money to the states

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