Republicans reportedly offer sweeteners to try to win Lisa Murkowski's vote for Obamacare repeal

Key Points
  • Republicans are reportedly offering exemptions for Alaska in their latest Obamacare repeal proposal to win Sen. Lisa Murkowski's vote.
  • Murkowski was one of three Republican senators to sink the last GOP Obamacare repeal attempt.
  • She remains publicly undecided on the latest plan, championed by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy.
Republicans reportedly try to win Lisa Murkowski's vote for Obamacare repeal

Republicans are reportedly offering sweeteners for Alaska in an effort to win GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski's vote for the latest Obamacare repeal bill.

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., want to add exemptions for Alaska, Murkowski's state, in order to get her to support their last-ditch bill to overhaul the American health-care system, the Independent Journal Review reported, cautioning that the deal is not yet final. Such a change would keep in place some Affordable Care Act provisions in Alaska that the bill would scrap in nearly all other states, the report said.

Meanwhile, Politico reported that a revised bill could potentially shield Alaska and as many as four other sparsely populated states from major Medicaid cuts through 2026.

CNBC could not immediately confirm details of any possible offer to Murkowski.

Reports of the potential changes come as multiple key Republican Senate holdouts remain undecided on the plan as GOP senators push for a vote on it next week. Voting next week would mean senators would have to decide on it before the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has a chance to estimate its effects on insurance coverage and premiums.

Under the tweaks described in the IJR report, Alaska and Hawaii would be the only states to still get the premium tax credits under Obamacare. Medicaid per-capita caps would get delayed in those two states. They would also receive an increased federal Medicaid matching rate, the report said.

Murkowski, along with Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and John McCain, R-Ariz., sank the last Republican effort to repeal Obamacare. The three senators have not yet publicly announced their positions on Graham-Cassidy.

Republicans have to pass an Obamacare repeal bill before Sept. 30 to use budget rules that require only a majority vote.

The Graham-Cassidy plan would eliminate Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and federal subsidies to help low- and middle-income people buy insurance. It would cut federal funding overall and block-grant money to states to set up their own systems.

Major medical organizations and several key governors — including independent Alaska Gov. Bill Walker — have come out against the bill.

Spokespeople for Murkowski and Graham did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment.

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