It’s hard to believe that after the recent repeal-and-replace debacles from Congress, but when you see a bill supported by both President Trump and John “Thumbs Down” McCain, you can’t help but think that maybe…just maybe…we may get to see the end of Obamacare after all.
As Breitbart.com reports:
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) told reporters on Friday that he almost has the votes to pass his Republican coalition’s new legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare through block grants.
Cassidy said, “I am pretty confident we’ll get there on the Republican side. We’re probably at 48-49 [votes] and talking to two or three more.”
This bill, referred to as Graham-Cassidy, would end the individual mandate as well as the requirement that businesses with 50 or more full-time employees provide health insurance to at least 95% of those employees. Also gone will be the medical device tax and a variety of other taxes and fees Republicans opposed.
In its place will be greater freedom to the states in the form of block grants.
As the Washington Post summarizes the bill:
The proposal, crafted by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), essentially turns control of the health-care markets over to the states. Rather than funding Medicaid and subsidies directly, that money would be put into a block grant that a state could use to develop any health-care system it wants. It also allows states to opt out of many ACA regulations. “If you like Obamacare, you can keep it,” Graham has said, using a common nickname for the health-care law. “If you want to replace it, you can.”
Interestingly, the primary obstacle to the passage of Graham-Cassidy, besides the Democrats, are those who fought hardest to be rid of Obamacare: congressional conservatives.
One reason why this is so is that Graham-Cassidy freezes Planned Parenthood funding, but only for one year.
Also, Graham-Cassidy does not fully repeal-and-replace Obamacare, according to many conservatives.
Criticism is mounting to the latest Republican-led effort to partially replace the Affordable Care Act from conservatives who want the Obama-era health law to disappear in its entirety.
A bill unveiled Wednesday by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada) would keep a lot of the ACA’s regulations intact though it would eliminate the individual and employer mandate and shift insurance subsidies and Medicaid funding to block grants controlled by states.
But that’s not good enough, say conservatives who favor a full repeal of the ACA as promised by Republican members of Congress for 7 of the 8 years when President Barack Obama was in the White House.
However, there might be enough in the final version of the bill to satisfy conservatives.
As TheHill.com reports:
In a concession to conservatives, the draft is expected to include a version of an amendment proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would allow insurers to sell plans that are not compliant with ObamaCare, as long as they also offer plans that do meet ObamaCare requirements.
As stated, President Trump has announced his support for the bill, writing on WhiteHouse.gov:
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. 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.
And even Senator John McCain, whose rejection of the last GOP effort to kill Obamacare angered Republicans mightily, backs this one.
So perhaps in a few weeks we will see the end (albeit an imperfect one) of the Affordable Care Act that has burdened the economy and hurt families for a very long time now.