- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sen. Bill Cassidy said Thursday that President Trump can help get his health care proposal passed through Congress.

“We need obviously the CBO to score more rapidly. We’ll be speaking to our individual senators to get on board the bill. We’ve already begun those discussions, very promising, and we need governors. We have governors calling us up saying they’d like to be on board,” Mr. Cassidy, Louisiana Republican, said on MSNBC. “The president can help with all that.”

Mr. Cassidy, along with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have drafted a health care proposal that Republicans see as their last chance to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“If he makes it a high-profile issue, it sharpens the mind, gets them on board,” Mr. Cassidy said, referring to Mr. Trump.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, also said the president needs to commit to helping pass the plan with the same conviction that Democrats had in passing the law.

“Mr. President, focus on repealing and replacing Obamacare. He came out for our idea yesterday, but President Trump needs to be as committed to repealing Obamacare as President Obama was in passing it. [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell needs to be as committed to repealing Obamacare as Harry Reid was to passing Obamacare,” Mr. Graham said on Fox News.

He added that he’d like to see Mr. Trump help gather votes, and Mr. McConnell needs to call for a vote and get a score from the Congressional Budget Office.

Republicans are rushing to pass the Cassidy-Graham measure before Sept. 30 when the budget reconciliation tactic they tried to use in the previous health care debate expires. After that, they need to gather 60 votes required to override a filibuster, rather than the 51 votes they currently need. But the health care replacement debate has been fierce and left the party divided about what to replace the law with.

Mr. Cassidy and Mr. Graham propose a swapping the Obamacare tax credits for a block grant to states and allow them to build their own health care system. It also repeals the Obamacare mandates and the medical device tax.

The Louisiana Republican also said that Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent, has unrealistic goals for his Medicare for All plan that he proposed on Wednesday.

“He would take away everyone’s employer-sponsored insurances, which has been the safe haven from Obamacare encroachments, he would further increase the taxes after taking the revenue that goes toward employer-sponsored insurance, and put about 110 million people, at least, on the Medicare a program, which is going bankrupt in 17 years,” Mr. Cassidy explained.

“So the American people better look long and hard at this empty promise,” he said, adding that Mr. Sanders’ plan would cost “billions.”

Several Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have already signed on to Mr. Sanders’ bill.

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