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Senator Cassidy Driving Latest Health Care Reform Bill

Wallis Watkins

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, along with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, is leading the latest effort to repeal and replace Obamacare in the U.S. Senate.  

“Our bill gives the Governor responsibility, which she or he may not want, but that’s the best way to get people covered," said Senator Cassidy on CNN Wednesday.

The Graham-Cassidy bill would implement a block grant system for states to cover the cost of care for medicaid recipients. Senator Cassidy says that gives states more power.

Governor John Bel Edwards has come out against the bill.

“I don’t have any doubt that Louisiana would be one of the states that come out the worst under that particular proposal,” he explained.

Governor Edwards expanded Medicaid in Louisiana in July 2016. Since then, more than 430,000 residents have gained coverage. He says that could change under this plan and that "the Graham-Cassidy bill would actually end the expansion in 2020.” 

In a letter to the U.S. Senate Tuesday, Edwards urged leaders to consider a more bipartisan approach to healthcare reform. Nine other governors also signed the letter, including "Democrats, Republicans and Independents that are recommending that Congress, particularly the Senate, not move forward with the Graham-Cassidy bill,” said Edwards. 

In May, Senator Cassidy coined what he called “the Jimmy Kimmel test," referring to the Late Night host whose son was born with a heart defect. Cassidy says a replacement plan would pass the Kimmel test if it expanded coverage, lowered premiums for the middle class, covered pre-existing conditions and had no lifetime caps.

Cassidy says this bill passes that test. On his show Tuesday night, Kimmel said Graham-Cassidy fails.  

“Stop using my name okay," said Kimmel, "because I don’t want my name on it."

Senate leadership hopes to vote on the bill by September 30th.