Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy are working overtime to sway Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski into voting for the healthcare bill that bears their names, The Hill reported.
Murkowski's vote is a key one; with a headcount of 52 Republicans in the Senate, the party can afford just two "nay" votes to pass the bill, and they're likely there already with Sens. Rand Paul (definite no) and Susan Collins, who has all but said she's voting no.
Murkowski voted against the GOP's skinny repeal in July, and with Alaska standing to lose $1 billion in funding under the Graham-Cassidy bill from 2020 to 2026, she's going to be a hard sell for this as well, The Hill reported.
Alaska has a unique problem when it comes to healthcare: with a vast expanse coupled with a low population, the states has some of the highest healthcare costs in the country.
"I'd say the chances are less than 30 percent. Alaska doesn't do very well in this bill. Her governor is lukewarm on it and her insurance commissioner is not for it,” one Senate GOP aide told The Hill.
To that end, the Independent Journal Review reported Graham and Cassidy have added sweeteners to their bill to assuage Murkowski:
- Alaska (and Hawaii) would continue to receive the tax credits of Obamacare; they would be repealed for every other state.
- Delay caps on Medicaid for Alaska and Hawaii.
- Increased federal Medicaid matching rate for Alaska and Hawaii.
Even if Republicans do successfully woo Murkowski, they still have other hotspots with Sens. John McCain, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Shelley Moore Capito, The Hill reported.
Republicans need them all, and they need them fast in order to pass Graham-Cassidy before Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year and their last chance to pass healthcare reform with a simple majority.
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