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A new GOP Obamacare-replacement bill picks up votes in Senate
Senate Republicans have a new Obamacare-repeal bill under review and almost enough votes to pass it, according to bill co-sponsor Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana). But the clock is ticking: If the bill doesn't come to a vote by September 30, Democrats will be able to quash it with a filibuster.
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WASHINGTON D.C. — A Senate bill to replace Obamacare with a GOP plan now has "48 or 49" Republican votesalmost enough to passco-sponsor Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) told the Washington Times. The bill, which Cassidy and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) jointly introduced just last week, could make its way to President Trump's desk following a reconciliation process with the Republican-led Houseif it passes by the end of the month.

The bill would kill Obamacare's mandate requiring all Americans to buy insurance and all large businesses to provide insurance coverage. It would also scrap a tax on medical sales devices that the law instituted.

In addition, it would stop funding Obamacare's expanded Medicaid enrollments and subsidies to insurers. All the funds would instead go to states as "block grants"i.e., set amounts that may be spent on health care and nothing elsefor the states to spend as they wish on their own health-care plans.

There are "people coming out regularly and saying they're for it, either privately or publicly," Cassidy said.

They need to pass it by September 30, however, for it to pass by a simple majority. If it is still under Senate debate after September 30, the window for reconciliation will close and the bill will be subject to filibuster.

Senate Democrats are scrambling to oppose it. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) tweeted a "red alert" over the weekend: "Trumpcare is back & Senate GOP has until Sept 30 to pass their bill. We need your voices more than ever!"

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said Friday that he also opposes the bill. If he stands his ground, this will be the second Republican repeal attempt in which he votes against his party. He also voted down an earlier Obamacare repeal bill in July.