U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI), along with former U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R-PA), unveiled their bill to reform health care today.
Their bill repeals the structure and architecture of Obamacare and replaces it with a block grant given annually to states to help individuals pay for health care. They announced that the block grant would be run through CHIP and is subject to a mandatory appropriation. They said grant dollars would replace the federal money currently being spent on Medicaid Expansion, Obamacare tax credits, cost-sharing reduction subsidies, and the basic health plan dollars.
Their proposal also gives states the resources and regulatory flexibility to innovate and create healthcare systems that lower premiums and expand coverage.
This new proposal also repeals the Obamacare Individual and Employer Mandates. It also repeals the Obamacare Medical Device Tax and strengthens the ability for states to waive Obamacare regulations. The proposal also protects patients with pre-existing medical conditions.
“If you believe repealing and replacing Obamacare is a good idea, this is your best and only chance to make it happen because everything else has failed… If you want a single-payer health care system, this is your worst nightmare,” he said.
“There is a lot of fight left in the Republican Party when it comes to repealing and replacing Obamacare. The reason I know that is I spent all of August [with South Carolina residents] talking about our failure [to repeal and replace Obamacare]. And nobody was very happy with the idea that the Republican Party – after seven years – promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, made an effort, failed and is apparently willing to quit, Graham added.”
“This past week, we heard testimony from Democrat and Republican governors and Medicaid directors who believe that, with increased flexibility and freedom from Washington, DC regulations, they can do a better job of providing coverage for the people of their state. We agree,” Cassidy stated. “This amendment gives that flexibility to states while protecting patients and the federal taxpayer.”
“Doing nothing to try to solve Obamacare’s failures isn’t an option. Up until last month, Nevadans living in 14 of our 17 counties were not going to be able to buy insurance on the exchange next year. On top of that, the most disadvantaged Nevadans are forced to pay a fine for a product that they cannot afford,” Heller said. “The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson plan is the most viable solution to achieving our health care reform goals by recognizing Obamacare’s failed one-size-fits-all approach and returning power to the states. I thank Senators Graham and Cassidy for their leadership, and I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting a plan that allows our governors and legislatures the flexibility to support programs that are currently working in our states and to explore new options to address coverage and cost.”
“Obamacare continues to collapse, and we have no choice but to address this problem head on,” Johnson said. “Returning more health care decisions to the states and ensuring equal treatment for states like Wisconsin that spend taxpayer dollars wisely will allow local leaders to tailor their health care system to the needs of its citizens while maintaining protections for those with high cost and pre-existing conditions.”
President Donald Trump applauded the effort but stopped short of saying he would back the bill.
“I applaud the Senate for continuing to work toward a solution to relieve the disastrous Obamacare burden on the American people. My Administration has consistently worked to enact legislation that repeals and replaces Obamacare, and that can pass the Senate and make it to my desk,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House. “Obamacare has been a complete nightmare for the many Americans who have been devastated by its skyrocketing healthcare premiums and deductibles and canceled or shrinking plans. As I have continued to say, inaction is not an option, and I sincerely hope that Senators Graham and Cassidy have found a way to address the Obamacare crisis.”
The bill earned cautious praise from pro-life leaders.
“It is extremely encouraging to see pro-life Senators led by Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy offering new ideas and solutions to enact a health care reform reconciliation bill for FY17,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said. “SBA List will need time to review the language carefully to ensure that it will roll back taxpayer funding of abortion under Obamacare and re-direct abortion giant Planned Parenthood’s tax funding to community health centers.
“The Senate must get the job done and pass a health care reconciliation bill that defunds Planned Parenthood before it expires at the end of September. Should the Republican majority fail to get health care done, it must include re-directing Planned Parenthood’s tax funding on the next reconciliation bill to be considered which is likely to center on tax reform. The votes exist in both houses to defund Planned Parenthood and instead fund community health centers using reconciliation. President Trump has promised to sign a bill into law that accomplishes this major pro-life priority. It’s time for Congress to deliver, and failure is not an option given that the lives of unborn children and their mothers hang in the balance,” she added.
Last week, ten national pro-life leaders led by Dannenfelser sent a letter to Republicans in Congress calling on them to defund Planned Parenthood and redirect funding from the abortion business to comprehensive health care entities.
“I commend Senators Graham and Cassidy on introducing a pro-life bill to replace the disaster that is Obamacare. This bill does the right thing by defunding Planned Parenthood and directing funding towards Federally Qualified Health Centers. Planned Parenthood has lied to the American public, committed fraud with taxpayer dollars, and has been proven to sell the body parts of babies they abort for profit. Yet, Congress has continually failed to defund Planned Parenthood, despite having a pro-life Congress and President,” Students for Life of America Kristan Hawkins said in a released statement.
“SFLA will continue to mobilize pro-life students and voters from across the nation to stand up, fight back, and expose Planned Parenthood,” continued Hawkins. “This is why Students for Life of America is launching our #SockIt2PP tour next week to call on Congress to defund Planned Parenthood.”