Senate GOP leader John Thune of South Dakota said Graham and Cassidy would need "a double-double bank shot" to prevail, a joking reference to an impossible basketball shot.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senators make last-ditch bid to repeal ObamaCare GOP braces for Bannon primary attacks McConnell, Schumer in verbal tango over debt limit agreement MORE (R-Ky.) has not thrown his support behind the bill, though, telling Graham and Cassidy at a meetingon Tuesday that they needed to find 51 votes on their own.
"I know it may appear last minute - well, it is last minute - but it is the right approach at the right time", former Senator Rick Santorum, R-Penn., who helped craft the bill, said at the press conference with its sponsors. "Up until last month, Nevadans living in 14 of our 17 counties were not going to be able to buy insurance on the exchange next year", said Heller. It only takes three Republican senators to object and the bill can't pass under reconciliation.
While Republicans mull over these proposals, roughly a dozen Senate Democrats are rallying behind legislation that aims to expand Medicare and create a single-payer health care system in America.
"What has been proposed isn't actually repeal and replace", said Dan Holler, the communications director at Heritage Action, another of the major conservative pro-repeal groups.
A key Republican who might start talking about it is Donald J. Trump. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson said if the government did not keep funding the cost-sharing subsidies, insurance premiums would likely rise and the government would have to spend more money on tax credits that help consumers afford the premiums. Then it must be debated and passed.
At least 12 other Senate Democrats signed onto Sanders' bill by late Tuesday, including four potential 2020 presidential contenders besides Sanders: Kamala Harris of California, Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren, New York's Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker of New Jersey. "It makes states more responsible, more responsive", Johnson said. About 82 percent of those people have incomes less than $50,000. In effect, this would mean less money for expansion (mostly blue) states, and more money for non-expansion (mostly red) states.
The struggle to get most Republican governors on board with the bill was telling. But they face extremely long odds in trying to win 51 votes before a fast-approaching procedural deadline on September 30.
But the block grant could be spent on a variety of health-care purposes - not just to help lower-income people gain coverage.
"We don't think of blue states or red states in this bill", Cassidy said.
Several United States senators are working to introduce legislation this week aimed at shifting health care control from the fedearl government to the states. To understand the damage that Cassidy-Graham would do, read Sarah Kliff or Dylan Scott of Vox, Jordan Weissmann of Slate or an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Graham argued that "a call from the president and the vice president would go a long way to get us to 20 governors".