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John McCain lists demands for final health bill

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The Arizona Republican wants a 10-year phaseout of Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and changes to the entitlement program's growth rate. (C-SPAN2 via AP)

Sen. John McCain wants a 10-year phase-out of Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and changes to the entitlement program's growth rate, according to several amendments the Arizona senator plans to file.

McCain released a list of three amendments he filed this week for legislation the Senate is debating this week. The Senate is expected to hold votes on a slew of amendments from Republicans and Democrats in the next several days.

One of McCain's amendments calls for extending the phase out of the Medicaid expansion to 10 years. A bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare that was defeated in the Senate late Tuesday would have started to phase out government funding for the Medicaid expansion in 2020 and phase it out over a three-year period.

McCain said his timeline would give states more time to alter their budgets.

"Under current proposals, the federal matching rate would be dramatically reduced, leaving states to pick up the tab without the time necessary to prepare," according to a statement from his office.

Another amendment would change the growth rate for Medicaid. McCain noted that Arizona operates "one of the least costly Medicaid programs in the country."

"However, under current proposals, changes in the growth rate for Medicaid would punish states like Arizona, which has spent decades reforming its Medicaid program by cutting costs and streamlining services," the statement said. "Senator McCain's amendment would correct this inequity by ensuring the growth rate for Medicaid is adequately adjusted for inflation."

His third amendment would repeal a provision that wouldn't punish Arizona for expanding Medicaid before Obamacare was created. He noted that in 2000 the state passed a ballot initiative that expanded Medicaid to all adults with an income up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

It is not clear if any of McCain's amendments will make it into the final bill, which is being worked out.

The Senate voted Tuesday to start debate on an Obamacare replacement bill that passed the House in May. That bill will be stripped out and replaced with a final bill.

The Senate voted down an attempt to repeal Obamacare without an immediate replacement on Wednesday and rejected a replacement bill late Tuesday.

The Senate is expected to take up McCain's and other senators' amendments during an extended session called a vote-a-rama, which features votes on dozens of amendments. After that, a final bill will be brought up for passage.

Leadership has suggested a "skinny repeal" bill that would repeal some parts of Obamacare as a vehicle to keep the process moving forward so that the House and Senate can hold a conference to iron out a replacement bill.

It is no clear which measures would be in the skinny repeal bill or its chances of garnering 50 votes in the chamber. Vice President Mike Pence can break any 50-50 tie.