- The Washington Times - Monday, September 18, 2017

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey threw his support Monday behind a last-gasp Obamacare repeal bill in the Senate, giving its Republican sponsors hope as they try to win over Sen. John McCain and pin down at least 50 GOP votes.

Mr. Ducey, a Republican, said the block-grant proposal known as “Graham-Cassidy” is the “best path forward to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

“Congress has 12 days to say ‘yes’ to Graham-Cassidy. It’s time for them to get the job done,” he said in a prepared statement.

The governor’s backing could be key, since Mr. McCain pointed to state buy-in as a pre-condition for his own support.

However, the Republican senator also said he wanted Congress to slow down and deal with health care in bipartisan fashion, akin to the Senate Health Committee’s effort to stabilize the markets before open enrollment in November.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, took Mr. Ducey’s support and ran with it, saying it offered his plan a much-needed boost.

SEE ALSO: Rand Paul is unlikely to support the Graham-Cassidy measure

“With Governor Ducey’s support, we are gaining the momentum we need to repeal and replace Obamacare. Governor Ducey rightly believes he can do a better job delivering health care to Arizonans than some nameless, faceless bureaucrat in Washington,” he said.

Under his plan, Obamacare money that pays for an expansion of Medicaid and that subsidizes coverage for many of those who buy insurance on the exchanges would be pooled and instead given to states as block grants. The states would tailor the money to their own health care plans.

Republicans have until the end of this month to use their fiscal 2017 budget to pass an Obamacare repeal bill while avoiding a Democratic filibuster, meaning GOP leaders will have to secure an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office and pin down support in less than two weeks.

They also need the House to sign onto the plan before sending it to President Trump for his signature.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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