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Utah Senators Consider Obamacare Replacement, But Time Is Running Out

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Vekeo screenshot and Brian Grimmett
Utah Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch.

Utah’s senators could have one more chance to vote on a proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, but time is running out.

The newest bill to replace Obamacare is being called the Graham-Cassidy plan after its two main sponsors, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. 

It would provide a federal block grant to states, giving them decision power over how healthcare money is spent.

Those grants would come from money given to states that expanded Medicaid and from federal subsidies that reduce the cost of insurance. The proposal would also eliminate the individual and employer insurance mandates.

Gov. Gary Herbert said last week he supported the bill. Sen. Mike Lee’s office said he was encourage by parts of it, but has not taken a formal stance yet. And Sen. Orrin Hatch said he doubts the bill will be voted on in time.

That’s because time is running out. On September 30, the process known as reconciliation, which allows bills to be passed with only 51 votes, will end. After that, senators will need 60 votes to pass new laws. That will require a more bipartisan bill that can attract at least some Democratic support.

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