Rep. Mark Meadows, a key negotiator in the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, said a new effort is underway to write a bill that can pass the Senate that would include proposals offered by Sens. Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Ted Cruz, and Rob Portman.
"We continue to work on two different plans with our Senate colleagues," Meadows, R-N.C., told the Washington Examiner. "We will continue to do that over the next couple of weeks on a plan that can get to 51" votes in the Senate.
Meadows said he has talked to senators, including Graham, in the hours after this morning's failure to pass a "skinny" repeal bill, and the mood is "all hands on deck" to come up with a new deal.
"I believe we deliver, still, on healthcare," Meadows said. To suggest that everything is over is not understanding the dynamics going on right now in the Senate. It's not over."
Amendments sponsored by the four senators have yet to receive an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, which made them impossible to pass under special Senate rules that circumvent a Democratic filibuster.
Now there is time to get the information from CBO, Meadows said.
Cruz, of Texas, sponsored an amendment that would allow health insurers to offer a range of plans, which proponents believe would lower premiums, while Portman, of Ohio, offered a proposal to shore up Medicaid with additional federal spending to ensure low-income earners don't get shut out of healthcare. Graham, of South Carolina, and Cassidy, of Louisiana, have their own plan they are eager to try to pass, which would give states control of Obamacare dollars.
"We can be disappointed with the results," Meadows said. "At this point, this is one try on the Senate side. We probably have two more tries before we have to pack it up and go home."