Murkowski has not said much about the proposal. But like Collins, she has pushed for the Senate to take a bipartisan approach to health care and criticized the push to pass legislation without hearings and on party-line vote. She has also opposed efforts to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which is part of the Graham-Cassidy bill. And perhaps most importantly, states like Alaska that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare would stand to lose the most under Graham-Cassidy, and Murkowski has emphasized that her home state’s interests will be crucial to her vote.
McCain is a more curious case. The Arizona senator, who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer, provided the dramatic and decisive vote to kill the last GOP repeal plan in July. At the time, he excoriated the process Republicans used to go after Obamacare, calling for hearings, bipartisanship, and “regular order” going forward. But McCain is Graham’s best friend in the Senate, and he spoke positively about the proposal earlier this month. With Ducey’s support on Monday, McCain’s vote could be up for grabs. Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, McCain signaled his preference for the bipartisan approach to fixing Obamacare that Senators Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, and Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, are pursuing in the health committee.
But despite his concerns about process, McCain hasn’t ruled out the Graham-Cassidy bill. “I am not supportive of the bill yet,” he told reporters on Monday, reiterating his desire for the proposal to go through a full “regular order” process, which would including hearings, a committee vote, and the ability to offer amendments. There are no plans for a formal committee hearing on the Graham-Cassidy bill, but Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a co-sponsor of the proposal, has scheduled a hearing in the Homeland Security Committee next week on health-care block grants, one of its central features. McCain is a member of that committee.
The CBO on Monday announced it would only be able to provide a limited assessment of the Graham-Cassidy proposal by next week. Its report would allow the GOP to know whether the bill meets the minimum requirements for passage under reconciliation, but it would not give a complete picture of its impact. A full projection on how the bill could impact the deficit, health insurance coverage, and premiums won’t be ready “for at least several weeks,” the nonpartisan budget watchdog said. The news means wavering Republicans will face intense pressure not to vote for a bill that could reshape the health-care system without sufficient knowledge of its impact. But the impending reconciliation deadline could move them to act anyway. “It would be outrageous for our Republican colleagues to vote for this bill without knowing its effects on people,” Schumer said. “That, whatever your ideology, would be nothing short of a disgrace,”