Trump Targets Health Care Holdouts with Twitter Broadside

President singles out McCain, Murkowski, Paul over opposition to Graham-Cassidy bill as deadline nears

by Kathryn Blackhurst | Updated 22 Nov 2017 at 10:07 AM

President Donald Trump began his weekend by unleashing a Twitter broadside targeting three GOP Senate holdouts on the latest effort to partially repeal Obamacare.

The Senate is under a tight September 30 deadline to pass health care reform legislation under the “budget reconciliation” procedure — the process that requires a simple majority. Republicans hold 52 out of the 100 seats, yet the GOP has failed repeatedly throughout the summer to corral 50 of its members. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and John McCain (R-Ariz.) all signaled their opposition to the newest proposal, known as Graham-Cassidy, this week.

"John McCain never had any intention of voting for this Bill, which his Governor loves. He campaigned on Repeal & Replace. Let Arizona down!" Trump tweeted Saturday morning.

McCain shocked his GOP colleagues and the national at large when his "no" vote alongside Collins and Murkowski sank the Senate's August attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare that both President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) backed.

"Arizona had a 116% increase in ObamaCare premiums last year, with deductibles very high. [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer sold John McCain a bill of goods. Sad," Trump tweeted. "Large Block Grants to States is a good thing to do. Better control & management. Great for Arizona. McCain let his best friend L.G. down!"

Trump's "L.G." referred to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who, alongside Sen. Bill Cassidy (La.), sponsored the so-called "Cassidy-Graham" bill attempting to address health care reform. The bill seeks to allow the individual states to exercise more flexibility in how they handle federal health insurance by allotting block grants to those states.

While senators like McCain, Collins and Murkowski worry that the Cassidy-Graham bill will knock too many Americans covered under the Obamacare health care takeover from their coverage, Paul has obstinately and repeatedly refused to back a piece of health care legislation that fails to dismantle Obamacare and federal government-run health care.

McCain, Murkowski and Paul found themselves to be Trump's targets in the lengthy Twitter tirade.

"I know Rand Paul and I think he may find a way to get there for the good of the Party!" Trump tweeted.

"Alaska had a 200% plus increase in premiums under ObamaCare, worst in the country. Deductibles high, people angry! Lisa M comes through," the president tweeted.

Although the Cassidy-Graham bill's chances of garnering the 50 votes necessary are increasingly slim, some believe that McConnell and Trump can wield enough pressure to bring Murkowski on board by offering her further incentives. Paul will also find himself at the center of intense pressure from his GOP colleagues — though the Kentucky senator has a long history of bucking intra-party political pressure.

(photo credit, homepage and article images: Gage Skidmore)

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