Graham-Cassidy Is Dead, and Obamacare Is Alive

Republicans won’t vote on repealing Obamacare. For now.

Ulrich Stamm/ZUMA

Republicans are giving up on their latest effort to repeal Obamacare. During their caucus lunch Tuesday afternoon, Republican leaders decided that the bill, known as Graham-Cassidy, will not be brought up for a vote this week. “We’ve made the decision since we don’t have the votes, we’ll postpone that vote,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said Tuesday. That puts an end to GOP’s hopes for repealing the Affordable Care Act and gutting Medicaid—at least for the moment.

Republicans faced a September 30 deadline if they wanted to use a procedure called reconciliation, which would allow the Senate to avoid a Democratic filibuster and pass a bill with only 50 votes. But while Graham-Cassidy is dead for the moment, Republicans could still revive the proposal—or pursue a different Obamacare replacement—by including reconciliation in their 2018 budget, which several GOP senators are already calling for. But keeping the reconciliation option open for 2018 would force Republicans to tackle health care and tax reform together, which would make the already complex tax debate even more difficult.