Graham-Cassidy bill GOP's last-ditch effort to repeal ACA

Saul Bowman
September 15, 2017

Dean Heller of Nevada and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Sen. Rand Paul expressed skepticism towards the bill, however, Graham contends that his home-state governor can deliver better health care to Kentuckians with Graham-Cassidy compared to the status quo under Obamacare.

As a Senate panel tries to agree on a bipartisan fix to stabilize the Affordable Care Act, some Democrats appear willing to part with the law's controversial individual mandate - as long as there is an adequate replacement.

Graham warned that if Republicans fail to pass his bill, a single-payer system like the kind proposed by Sen.

Graham says this bill would prevent health care from turning into a single payer system. States would have the ability to roll back protections for vulnerable populations - especially those living with HIV and hepatitis.

Separately, independent Senator Bernie Sanders, a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, was pushing a plan to widen the Medicare health insurance program for seniors, to include everyone. The bill is known as "Medicare-For-All", and is championed by Sen. That may help win Republican votes, but one pill that will be tough for conservatives to swallow is the bill preserves most Obamacare taxes, though it does repeal the tax on medical devices. McConnell put forth three versions of Obamacare reform in July, and each fell short of the 50 vote threshold needed under reconciliation rules in a procedural vote.

"Utah senator Mike Lee and other conservatives have (correctly) pointed to Obamacare's regulations related to pre-existing conditions as the main reason why health insurance premiums have risen so dramatically under Obamacare".

There is also good reason to hope that Cassidy-Graham dies quickly. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, and Tom Udall of New Mexico all plan to attend Sanders announcement Wednesday.

Senator Alexander said, "I want a result that gives states flexibility in the approval of coverage, choices, and prices for health insurance".

For one thing, the bill, H.R. 1628, would rely on block grants. So far there seems to be broad support across party lines for funding cost-sharing reduction payments that the president has threatened to end while making it easier for states to tweak their health care programs.

If the plan is to work, it must first get a "score" from the Congressional Budget Office to determine if it would reduce the federal deficit over 10 years. "All we need is leadership". Tim Scott, a Republican from SC who added that the bill was the last "bullet left in the chamber".

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