ABC
Now playing
01:20
Kimmel fires back at Sen. Cassidy
Now playing
02:15
Why is health care in the US so expensive?
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 04:  Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) attends a news conference critical of the Republican tax and budget plan at the U.S. Capitol October 4, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 04: Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) attends a news conference critical of the Republican tax and budget plan at the U.S. Capitol October 4, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:14
Fact check: The true cost of 'Medicare for all'
title: Chairman Orrin Hatch: Assessing the impact of tax reform | LIVE STREAM  duration: 01:25:52  sub-clip duration: 4:00  site: Youtube  author: null  published: Thu Mar 01 2018 10:30:11 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time)  intervention: yes  description: In December, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the most sweeping overhaul of America's tax code in more than 30 years. How will the reduction in the corporate income tax rate and other features of the new tax law affect the US economy?    Please join AEI for remarks by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. After Chairman Hatch's remarks, an expert panel will discuss the legislation further.Watch other videos about "Topic"    Subscribe
american enterprise institute
title: Chairman Orrin Hatch: Assessing the impact of tax reform | LIVE STREAM duration: 01:25:52 sub-clip duration: 4:00 site: Youtube author: null published: Thu Mar 01 2018 10:30:11 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time) intervention: yes description: In December, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the most sweeping overhaul of America's tax code in more than 30 years. How will the reduction in the corporate income tax rate and other features of the new tax law affect the US economy? Please join AEI for remarks by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. After Chairman Hatch's remarks, an expert panel will discuss the legislation further.Watch other videos about "Topic" Subscribe
Now playing
00:58
Sen. Hatch calls Obamacare supporters stupid
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12:  U.S. President Donald Trump lisens during a nomination announcement at the East Room of the White House October 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump has nominated Nielsen to be the next homeland security secretary, the position that has left vacant by Chief of Staff John Kelly.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: U.S. President Donald Trump lisens during a nomination announcement at the East Room of the White House October 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump has nominated Nielsen to be the next homeland security secretary, the position that has left vacant by Chief of Staff John Kelly. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:49
Trump ends insurance subsidies for poor people
Now playing
00:53
Rep. Dent: Republicans own Obamacare now
Mick Mulvaney Obamacare subsidies CSR payments tsr_00000000.jpg
Mick Mulvaney Obamacare subsidies CSR payments tsr_00000000.jpg
Now playing
02:46
Trump official defends ending Obamacare subsidies
rick and bubba show trump
Rick & Bubba Show
rick and bubba show trump
Now playing
01:43
Trump: McCain 'no' vote is a slap in the face
9/25/17, CNN, Washington, D.C. 

Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speak at a CNN townhall debate on healthcare at the CNN headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 25, 2017. 

Gabriella Demczuk / CNN
Gabriella Demczuk for CNN
9/25/17, CNN, Washington, D.C. Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speak at a CNN townhall debate on healthcare at the CNN headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 25, 2017. Gabriella Demczuk / CNN
Now playing
02:26
Watch highlights from CNN's health care debate
Now playing
00:51
Sanders: Can't understand attacking McCain
Now playing
01:18
Sen. Graham: I will work with anyone
Now playing
01:50
Cassidy takes on the 'Jimmy Kimmel test'
Now playing
01:06
Klobuchar says Trump should work with Dems
Now playing
01:25
Graham on health bill: It's OK to fall short
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26:  U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) heads for the Senate Floor for a vote at the U.S. Capitol July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. GOP efforts to pass legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, were dealt setbacks when a mix of conservative and moderate Republican senators joined Democrats to oppose procedural measures on the bill.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) heads for the Senate Floor for a vote at the U.S. Capitol July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. GOP efforts to pass legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, were dealt setbacks when a mix of conservative and moderate Republican senators joined Democrats to oppose procedural measures on the bill. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:23
Sen. Collins a 'no' on Graham-Cassidy bill
Senator Lindsey Graham (C), R-SC, stands with Senator Bill Cassidy, R-LA, Senator Dean Heller (L), and Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI, as well as former Senator Rick Santorum (R), to announce their legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare through block grants on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2017.   / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Senator Lindsey Graham (C), R-SC, stands with Senator Bill Cassidy, R-LA, Senator Dean Heller (L), and Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI, as well as former Senator Rick Santorum (R), to announce their legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare through block grants on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:12
CBO: Millions uninsured under Graham-Cassidy

Story highlights

The Senate is out until next week and many of its members have gone home

A fight over pre-existing conditions with TV host Jimmy Kimmel is firing up activists

CNN —  

Republicans in the Senate have just nine days left before a crucial deadline to pass their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Here are three key takeaways:

- GOP leaders still don’t have the votes to pass a bill sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy.

- Those Republican leaders are doing everything they can behind closed doors to get those votes

- The next few days are likely to be quiet in terms of news and information. The Senate is out of session and lawmakers themselves are back home. Key vote Lisa Murkowski even told CNN how excited she was to get back to Alaska and go for a long bike ride in this, the “perfect time of year” for the state (FWIW, she defined “perfect time of year” as around 50 degrees and sunny).

McConnell’s ‘intention’ to vote:

Graham sent everyone scurrying Wednesday when he said explicitly the Senate would vote next week on the Graham-Cassidy bill. Graham isn’t the Senate’s majority leader, so it’s not really up to him.

Shortly thereafter Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s team released a statement saying it was his “intention” to vote next week. Those are two different things.

What it all means: McConnell is ready to green light this – he’s made that very clear. His floor and health care teams are fully engaged and he’s doing everything in his power to get this across the finish line.

BUT: CNN reports the Kentucky Republican is taking this day-by-day. There’s not going to be a scheduled vote until they have the votes or are on the cusp of having them. They aren’t there yet. An enormously public floor failure is not something anyone wants again.

At least for now.

Reminder: Next week is supposed to be the rollout of the GOP push on tax reform.

Today’s required reading:

- CNN’s Tami Luhby with a cold reality: literally zero health industry/advocacy groups support Graham-Cassidy

- CNN’s Lauren Fox on the most amazing thing Senators are saying out loud: the policy may be bad, but we promised we’d do this.

The real Kimmel effect:

Ask Republican aides about whether late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel’s public war with Cassidy is going to have a major affect on this debate, and mostly you’ll get some iteration of “Bad PR problem for the senator, inconsequential to the bill itself.”

Or as one lobbyist put it more bluntly. “Oh Hollywood is against this? That means our guys should love it.”

RELATED: Trump says GOP’s health bill protects pre-existing conditions. Here’s the truth.

This isn’t wrong – a lot of aides scoffed at this exchange Wednesday. Another texted Wednesday night during Kimmel’s monologue simply: “Rolling my damn eyes.”

But here’s where this is potentially problematic for Republicans:

1. The debate helps re-engage the base/grassroots/opposition groups that played such an important role in the bill’s first defeat.

2. Pre-existing conditions: This is potentially a sleeping giant issue in this bill. Remember when Senators made abundantly clear they would NOT do what the House did on pre-existing conditions. Simply wouldn’t. No chance. Not acceptable. Guess what? This bill has a similar, if perhaps more incentivized mechanism for states to waive price protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Kimmel is making that a key piece of his attacks. And it’s starting to come back to the forefront of the debate. That’s not good news for senators. One of the people who made clear the House bill went to far on pre-existing conditions? Murkowski.

On pre-existing conditions:

Cassidy and President Donald Trump say individuals with pre-existing conditions are guaranteed protection in this bill. Outside analysts, insurers, advocacy group say they aren’t. Who’s right? CNN has been explaining this for days, but here’s my take: The nuance here is important:

- Yes, the bill maintains the Obamacare ban on insurers denying someone a plan because of a pre-existing condition

- No, it doesn’t explicitly get rid of the price protections for those with pre-existing conditions (community rating)

Here’s what it does: The bill allows individual states to obtain waivers to drop the mandate for price protections. It incentivizes them to do so, actually. In exchange, a state must show it can provide “adequate and affordable” coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. Here’s the problem: “adequate and affordable” aren’t defined. The waiver process appears hardly rigorous on its face. Outside analysts say unequivocally this opens the door to a loosening of the regulations.

Why are they doing this: There’s a reason, politically toxic as it is, this keeps coming up – Republicans say the mandates, this one in particular, are responsible for premium increases on younger and healthier individuals and that’s not fair. Republicans also say states, either via risk pools or other mechanisms, will have alternative methods to address price and coverage issues for those with pre-existing conditions – the same argument made in the House. Here’s a problem with that: the costs are very high. And this bill reduces health care spending.

Bottom line: Graham-Cassidy puts an end to the guarantee that those with pre-existing conditions won’t face price increases because of their health problems.