Kimberley Strassel: The fate of the GOP's Graham-Cassidy health care bill is in Sen. Lisa Murkowski's hands

It’s accurate to say that the fate of the GOP’s new health-care bill, Graham-Cassidy, is in the hands of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The question is whether Ms. Murkowski, when she considers her vote, will use the right calculator.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is agonizingly close to having the votes to pass the plan sponsored by South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy. It would replace ObamaCare by repealing its worst mandates and sending money to the states as block grants.

What would Ms. Murkowski get by killing Graham-Cassidy? For a fleeting moment, the adoration of Anchorage’s liberal elite and media. But come next election, that crew will be as arrayed against her as always.

Two GOP senators are likely “no” votes: Kentucky’s Rand Paul, who never votes for anything that might actually pass, and Maine’s Susan Collins, who is always “disappointed” by Republican bills. But Arizona’s John McCain, who spoiled this summer’s attempt at ObamaCare repeal, seems unlikely to repeat his performance and sandbag his BFF, Mr. Graham.

That means the 50th vote will come down to Ms. Murkowski, who says she’s still trying to decide how the bill will affect her state. The media and liberal analysts are therefore pumping out predictions of disaster for Alaska, from vicious Medicaid cuts to dying Eskimos. These predictions are not only wrong, they intentionally miss the point. If Ms. Murkowski is honest with her constituents—and about her numbers—Alaska needs a “yes” vote.

Keep reading Kimberley Strassel's column in the Wall Street Journal.

Kimberley Strassel writes the Potomac Watch column for the Wall Street Journal where she is a member of the editorial board. Her latest book is "The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech" (Twelve, 2016).  Follow her on Twitter @KimStrassel.