Cassidy Talks Health Care With Price, GOP Governors

(Photo credit: REUTERS/Lee Celano)

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana met with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and a number of GOP governors in an attempt to resuscitate the upper chamber’s Obamacare repeal efforts Monday.

Senate Republicans failed to pass the motion to proceed on a watered-down version of their repeal bill Friday, dealing a major blow to Senate GOP leadership. Cassidy has been working with GOP Sens. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Dean Heller of Nevada on an amendment aimed at giving power back to the states.

“There are many ideas in Graham-Cassidy-Heller and the Patient Freedom Act that can be next steps. I will continue to discuss these ideas with the administration, governors and folks back home, because the American people need relief,” Cassidy told The Hill after a closed-door meeting with Senate GOP leadership.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune said the Cassidy-Graham-Heller Amendment and an amendment constructed by GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah are both being taken into consideration but still need to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office.

“I mean right now it’s being scored, so we have to find out what the impact would be from the CBO. So we need to find out what the impact would be — but I think that’s all kind of critical information that we need to have,” he said.

Thune noted that it could take the nonpartisan scorekeeper some time before they have projections on how the amendments would affect the markets.

“Most of these new ideas they say it takes them a couple of weeks at least to score — on this one because it is plowing some new ground it may take a while,” he said. “We’ll be anxious to get that information back.”

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