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Trump endorses GOP senators' last-ditch Obamacare repeal plan, hits Sen. Paul for opposing it

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump urges Republicans to pass a last-ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare.
  • Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy have pushed the plan before a Sept. 30 deadline, saying it will give states more power over their health-care systems.
  • Ten bipartisan governors and numerous major medical groups have opposed the bill.
Trump endorses GOP senators' last-ditch Obamacare repeal plan

President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Republican senators to push through a last-ditch attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act before the end of the month.

In a tweet, the president for the first time explicitly endorsed the health-care plan spearheaded by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La. The senators are rushing to pass the bill before a Sept. 30 deadline to use budget rules that would allow them to approve it with only Republican votes.

The health-care bill sets up a block grant system to allot money to the states. Many of them are expected to see less federal funding under the plan than they currently get.

"I hope Republican Senators will vote for Graham-Cassidy and fulfill their promise to Repeal & Replace ObamaCare. Money direct to the States!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

The senators backing it say it will give states more control over their health care rather than the federal government. It faces a tough fight and potentially razor-thin margin in the Senate.

Critics have expressed concerns that it will drastically increase the number of uninsured Americans and lead to fewer financial protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Ten bipartisan governors have urged the Senate not to pass the plan, while numerous major health-care groups have criticized the bill.

Senator Lindsey Graham (2nd R), R-SC, stands with Senator Bill Cassidy (L), R-LA, Senator Dean Heller (2nd L), R-NV, and Senator Ron Johnson (R), R-WI, to announce their legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare through block grants on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2017.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

In addition, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will not have the time to estimate the plan's effects on insurance coverage and premiums before the Senate would vote on it.

If three Republican senators oppose the plan, it will fail. Multiple attempts to repeal Obamacare already failed in the Senate earlier this year amid GOP opposition.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has repeatedly stated he will not support the plan. He says he wants a bill that goes further to repeal Obamacare.

Trump lambasted Paul on Twitter over his opposition.

On Wednesday, Paul tweeted that he is "currently working with the president to finalize" a "better replacement with cross state purchase of inexpensive insurance."

Focus has turned to Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and John McCain, R-Ariz., who voted against the last GOP attempt to overhaul the health-care system. While Collins has suggested she has problems with the Cassidy-Graham plan, neither Murkowski nor McCain have given a clear sense of where they stand. McCain, a friend of Graham, cast the vote that killed the previous repeal attempt.

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