After barely registering on the media’s radar for weeks, the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare replacement bill is finally generating serious attention as a September 30 deadline for action approaches. Senate Republicans appear to be just one or two votes shy of a simple majority to pass the legislation, which also appears to have enough support to pass in the House. But will they get there? Will they actually repeal Obamacare?
If you’re looking for hopeful signs of passage, it looks like John McCain – while still hesitant – says he’s open to supporting the bill that’s co-authored by his closest friend in the Senate, Lindsey Graham. One of the factors behind McCain’s decision-making process on Obamacare replacement bills has been the advice of his state’s Governor, Doug Ducey, who gave the bill his blessing this week.
Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski has also made quasi-supportive statements that at least suggest that she’d consider casting an “aye” vote if and when the time comes.
Conversely, Susan Collins still sounds like she has no interest in supporting any bill to repeal Obamacare – even one that takes a state-based approach similar to her own proposed plan, which she introduced with none other than Bill Cassidy. It seems increasingly clear that as Republicans weigh their options on this subject, Collins should be considered a Democrat, for all intents and purposes.
Then there’s Rand Paul, who is digging in against the bill, framing it as “if you like Obamacare, you can keep it” non-repeal. Some of Paul’s arguments against the new legislation hold water as a matter of policy, but they’re hard to square with his support for “skinny repeal,” which he said was the best option left. And if he’s offended by a proposal that would have the practical effect of maintaining Obamacare in some places, does he believe a better alternative would be to keep Obamacare everywhere?
A recent National Review summary explains some of the appealing benefits of the framework of the new legislation. It would repeal the individual and employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act, impose per capita caps on Medicaid, increase contributions to health savings accounts, allow states to waive regulations on private insurance providers, and provide those states with block grants so they can design their own healthcare systems.
Will Graham-Cassidy pass next week? It will be a close call.
About the Author
Guy Benson writes for TownHall.