TULSA, Okla. - Quick Facts:
- FOX23's Rick Maranon sat down with Senator James Lankford for an exclusive interview on Thursday.
- Lankford said that he will vote "Yes" on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill.
- The bill has faced heated criticism as supporters work to pass it before the Sept. 30 deadline to avoid a filibuster.
Oklahoma Senator James Lankford told FOX23 in an exclusive interview Thursday that he will vote "yes" on the Graham-Cassidy bill, the GOP's latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Lankford also voted for the last attempt to repeal and replace "Obamacare," or the Affordable Care Act.
However, Lankford also said he doesn't believe the proposal has enough votes yet to pass in the chamber, and it is possible that Vice President Mike Pence will have to break a tie vote in order for Graham-Cassidy to pass.
The U.S. Senate parliamentarian told senators that the budget reconciliation measure they were using to repeal and replace Obamacare would expire at the end of the month. That means, starting in October, a health care reform bill would need 60 votes in the Senate to get cloture and end debate. That means eight Democrats would have to support any proposed legislation.
Lankford said he is confident that pre-existing conditions will be covered under Graham-Cassidy despite the task of defining a pre-existing condition would be left up to the states.
He said, under the bill, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the governor's office, and state lawmakers would sit down together and codify what they consider to be pre-existing conditions to make sure people remain covered and don't have to pay higher premiums than those classified as not having a pre-existing condition.
Lankford told FOX23 he knows Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, are already no votes. However, he doesn't know what Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and John McCain, R-Ariz., will do. They voted against the previous repeal efforts.
"They have governors on the phone with them right now telling them what is and isn't going to work," Lankford said. "And they're feeling the heat and trying to make a decision they see best for their state."
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