Prior to the August recess and following a series of failures to repeal Obamacare -- otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- it was reported that a group of congressional republicans went to the White House to pitch more ideas about repealing Obamacare, again. In the lead with ideas, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) suggested a block grant program which would replace the federal government's funding of the ACA to the states. This month, a group of Republican senators tried to make another effort to push the block grant plan before their procedural powers to vote on a simple majority of 51 expires on Sept. 30. Here is Sen. Graham on Fox News on the same day he announced his block grant plan.

What Republicans are up against

Insurance companies also have until the 27th to decide if they want to be part of the ACA marketplace in time for next year. Towards the end of the mentioned series of failures over the ACA, President Trump gave a "pep talk" to Senate Republicans telling them that they were very close to repealing it. Politico reported in an article titled: "GOP split over fixing or gutting Obamacare as deadline looms" that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) echoed the same sentiment. Cruz claimed that Senate Republicans had 45-46 votes in the Senate, in response to Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) who said that "he didn't see it." Of course, Cruz is looking at the same number the GOP had before when they failed to even repeal the ACA.

The problem now is trying to convince Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell to try and bring the block grant proposal to a vote, but 46 votes are still five votes short.

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It's also been reported, however, that there is a bipartisan effort to shore up the insurance markets between Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). But the Politico report said that there is already fallout between the leaders as the effort is triggering Republican arguments about "bailing out" insurance companies. In another Politico report mentioned below, there are signs of further fallout over Alexander's efforts from within the Republican Party as well.

Ideological issues

"Bailing out" insurance providers is an argument that Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) has made repeatedly, and lately, he suggested in that case that it would probably be better to not do anything at all. The bipartisan effort is said to fund the ACA's cost-sharing program for two-years. Sen. Alexander is hoping to have something to turn over to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and McConnell by the beginning of the week. It's presumed at this rate that McConnell could continue to side with Republicans as he has (watch the video of his speech after last defeat.)

Politico also reported on Sunday in an article titled: " 2 GOP heavyweights brawl over Obamacare bill" that Sen. Orin Hatch (R-UT) was siding with Cornyn's view of "bailouts" and that he wrote his own OpEd for the Washington Post titled; "Obamacare doesn’t deserve a bailout" where he went after Sen.

Alexander. In his piece, he went after Sen. Alexander, saying that the senator was "stealing our jurisdiction", "our" meaning Republicans for wanting to work with democrats. Politico suggested that Alexander's effort could come up against Sen. Hatch's opposition.

But the humiliating defeats this year seem to have been too much to bear. McConnell told reporters recently that as of Tuesday, the way forward was unclear. McConnell would risk another divisive vote which could only result in another defeat, but doing nothing would also cause President Trump to act on his own, causing premiums to spike again and give Democrats something else to blame Republicans for. On the same day of the block grant announcement, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a single-payer plan that is already becoming popular with many Democrats but, has also revealed new divisions in the Liberal party.