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Did Senator Lindsey Graham Finally Get One Right?

South Carolina’s Republican (most would say RINO) Senator Lindsey Graham is one of the establishment’s favorite Senators. Perennial wingman of Senator John McCain, Graham always seems ready to attack conservatives or speak for the anti-conservative position on any issue, but maybe, just maybe, he’s gotten a Lindsey Grahamsolution to the GOP’s Obamacare repeal problem right.

Introduced last week, Senator Graham described the Graham - Cassidy bill as Republicans’ last hope for rolling back Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act.

According to an analysis by ABC News, here’s what the Graham – Cassidy bill does:

The Graham-Cassidy plan proposes distributing some federal funding currently available under the Affordable Care Act directly to states in the form of block grants. From 2020 to 2026, states would receive a set amount of federal funding to be used at their discretion for health care coverage, but cost-sharing subsidies the federal government pays to insurance companies to lower the cost of some plans on the individual insurance markets and money some states receives to expand their Medicaid rolls would go away.

The 31 states that applied for Medicaid expansion funding under the Affordable Care Act would see that money rolled back and eventually cut off. Graham and Cassidy say their plan would help balance Medicaid funding across the country, but Democrats say states with large Medicaid populations would struggle to provide coverage to their populations. Spending on Medicaid would be done per capita, meaning that less populous states like Maine and Alaska--home to two Senators currently on the fence about the plan--might struggle to foot the bill.

The plan would repeal two key parts of Obamacare, the individual and employer mandates, and states could apply for waivers to alter what counts as an “essential health benefit” for insurance companies as they design their plan options. In addition, states could obtain waivers so that insurance companies could charge people with some pre-existing conditions more for some plans in their states. That practice is prohibited under current law. While insurers would likely still have to offer people with pre-existing plans choices, they could potentially limit coverage options as well under the proposed bill.

Graham-Cassidy would also allow people over the age of 30 to buy into catastrophic coverage plans, which have high deductibles but lower premiums and less benefits, as a way to get more healthy people covered. The bill would also allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more than younger Americans.

Obamacare taxes unpopular with Republicans, like the medical device tax, and tax on health savings accounts would also be repealed.

Conservatives have begun to read the Graham – Cassidy bill and cautiously express optimism that it could form the first step in an Obamacare repeal.

 “The current vehicle that opens the door to begin a full repeal of Obamacare is the Graham-Cassidy legislation.  While it is better than Obamacare, there’s no doubt this legislation still falls far short of a full repeal and does not do enough to lower health insurance costs, said our friend Club for Growth President David McIntosh in a statement released yesterday.

“One proposal that would do much to strengthen this legislation is Senator Cruz’s revised Consumer Freedom amendment to roll back the harmful and costly regulations at the heart of Obamacare.  Consistent with Graham-Cassidy, this addition would further empower states by allowing an opt-in process which gives the states an opportunity to choose which regulations to follow.  If this change is incorporated in the final version of the Graham-Cassidy legislation, Club for Growth will plan to support the bill,” noted McIntosh.

“Make no mistake, passage of Graham-Cassidy legislation is not the end of the effort to repeal Obamacare.  Conservatives will continue to fight for Congress to do more to repeal Obamacare in order to protect families who have suffered greatly from increased health insurance costs,” concluded McIntosh’s statement.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning also issued a statement urging the Senate to pass the Cassidy-Graham bill repealing and replacing Obamacare before the fiscal year ends.

“We are encouraged that the Senate is close to passage on the Cassidy-Graham bill, which is the last best chance for Republicans to keep their basic promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. It ends the noxious individual mandate that compels people to purchase health insurance. It ends the employer mandate which discouraged employers from hiring full-time employees. It increases flexibility for the states and respects them through its common-sense block grant formula, giving state legislatures a key role in offering lower-cost health insurance alternatives to their citizens. States are also empowered to apply for waivers from Obamacare regulations, allowing insurers to offer similar lower-cost alternatives to consumers,” Manning said in his statement.

“While the failure to rip all of the Obamacare regulations out in their entirety is disappointing, the Cassidy-Graham proposal is a step in the right direction and Congress must not miss this opportunity to act this year on keeping its promise. This will set the stage for further next steps in eliminating the remaining competition-killing regulations that remain intact,” concluded the statement from the conservative organization.

The White House has been working with Senators Graham and Cassidy for weeks on the new effort and President Trump himself had quietly encouraged the two senators to take another shot at health care reform reports CNN.

President Trump would sign the Graham-Cassidy bill if it makes it to his desk, an administration official told CNN yesterday, so it looks like if Senator Graham can cajole his buddy McCain into voting for his bill it just might allow Republicans to, at least part way, make good on their eight-year pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare.

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Go on, John, Make your buddy look good for a change!

If McCain does not back up his buddy's careful and diplomatic compromise bill, we will see for sure that the relationship is single-sided, as Ayotte found out when she cozied up to the pair of them during her single term.

Compromise means mutual advantage, not discarding your principles. Let us discover if enough Republicans are willing to take a step toward more freedom and better economic growth, even if the bill is not what purists want.

I'm looking at YOU, Collins, Murkowski, and Paul.

The regulations must be repealed

Once again we have not a repeal bill but an amendment to Obamacare. While I'd say this one seems cleaner than some of the others, its big problem is that it does not sufficiently increase consumer freedom, because it doesn't repeal any of the regulations. As such, it doesn't actually do much that would lead to lower premiums. And as a result, if it passes, the Democrats will be able to argue that repealing Obamacare was a failure that hurt sick people and didn't lower costs, and use that as another reason to advance single-payer.

I'm not going to buy any attempt at a "first step" until the people pushing it can explain how it is going to help us get to the next step and full repeal. So far, each plan has been marketed as "Obamacare repeal," even though it didn't repeal Obamacare. That's not helpful in ensuring that it properly fits into a multi-part strategy that will hasten the day of full repeal. I remain skeptical that this bill will pass, and if it does that Obamacare repeal will ever see further action from senators Graham, Cassidy, McCain, or any of the other RINOs in Washington.

I agree. Most of us who

I agree. Most of us who object to Obamacare in the first place want and expect a full repeal. While this may be a decent bill, it does not address the crux of the problem. Obamacare is illegal, like so many other things implemented by that administration, and should never have been passed. I'm disappointed with Trump and conservatives who haven't followed through on their promises. Trump should be tweeting about this daily, rather than the petty things he complains about.