GOP Rolls Out ‘Last-Ditch’ Bill To Repeal Obamacare

(Daily Caller News Foundation) GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Dean Heller of Nevada and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin released legislation Wednesday to repeal and replace major portions of Obamacare with a system of block grants, a first step towards making good on a seven-year Republican campaign promise.

Bill Cassidy photo

Bill Cassidy/Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC)

“Behind me is the only thing between you and single-payer health care,” Graham said Wednesday. “If you believe repealing and replacing Obamacare is a good idea, this is your best and only chance to make that happen.”

The bill would replace Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, subsidies for private insurance companies (cost-sharing reductions) and tax-credits for middle-income Americans with block grants. The new funding mechanism would start in 2020 and would provide states with the opportunity to apply for grants from a pool of $136 billion. That pool would grow nearly 50 percent in six years, reaching $200 billion in 2026. The legislation does not provide permanent funding for the block grant program, funding would have to be addressed again in 2026.

The legislation does include two features of previous Republican proposals to repeal Obamacare. It would repeal both the individual and employer mandates to purchase insurance, which consumers and businesses have lamented since 2014.

Effectively, what the senators described Wednesday is a bill that would put a great deal of “power” back in the hands of the states. Under the legislation, states could innovate as to how they choose to implement features of the Affordable Care Act, as long as they include protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

PREVIOUSLY: McCain, Trump Endorse Last-Gasp Obamacare Repeal Bill

Obamacare already grants states some ability to choose how they implement Obamacare with 1332 waivers, which allow states to tailor Obamacare as long as they meet the basic ACA protections. The senators said Wendnesday that the flexibility provided to states through their bill would be tied to block grants. Under their plan, states would be allowed to manage their own health care programs, with less oversight from federal agencies.

Republicans seven month long effort to upend the American health care system failed in late July, after three Republican senators – John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine – voted down the party’s third and final (until now) proposal to repeal Obamacare. Some Republicans have motioned it is time for the party to move on to other legislative goals, like tax reform, but Graham thinks there is still enough support for trying one more time to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law.

“There is a lot of fight left in the Republican Party to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Graham promised. “The question is, is there any fight left in Washington to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

The South Carolina senator publicly called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Wednesday, saying the only thing stopping this bill from getting to the floor of the Senate is lack of leadership. Graham said this bill provides voters a choice between more government interference in the market, which he repeatedly said Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont’s Medicare-For-All bill would bring, or more state flexibility and opportunities for competition.

“What Graham-Cassidy-Dean-Heller does is it returns that power to the states. It makes states more responsible, more responsive,” Johnson said. “For my Republican colleagues, if this isn’t quite good enought, if it doesn’t do enough repeal, this is our last shot … This is far better than Obamacare.”

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said that those who are hesitant to support the bill because it doesn’t repeal Obamacare entirely should focus on the fact that this will be one of the most historic reforms in the history of Washington.

Graham told reporters that he is working with McConnell to move the bill through Congress, but the majority leader told him he needs to get to “50 votes,” which is the threshold for passing the bill under the Senate’s budget reconciliation.

Graham said he is not ready to move on from health care, and wants the president, who repeatedly pressed senators to pass an Obamacare repeal bill during the summer, to become more involved.  “Mr. President, help us because we are trying to help you,” Graham said.

The senators said they likely don’t have the votes yet, but Graham hinted multiple times that if the president can help get governors behind the proposal, senators would follow suit.

“The idea that we can do this by ourselves is unreasonable,” Graham said. “If we leave health care…it will be because Democrats said, ‘no.’”

“This is our last and best shot for the Republican Party to show that we have ideas and our ideas are better than the other side,” Graham said.

PREVIOUSLY: Republican Donor Sues Party for Fraud Over Failed Obamacare Repeal

The senators face a great number of challenges in their push to get the bill through the House, the Senate and to Trump in under three weeks. The bill has yet to have a public hearing in any congressional committee, which was a chief criticism of the Republicans recent efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, and it hasn’t been scored by the non-partisan budget agency, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

While these three senators toy with the idea of repealing Obamacare, more than a dozen Republican and Democratic senators are working on a solution to fix the problems with Obamacare, seemingly dropping all discussions of repealing and replacing the current system.

Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander kicked off a series of hearings in early September that are focused on finding a way to both stabilize the Affordable Care Act and individual health insurance marketplaces and prevent premiums from soaring in 2018. Soaring premiums have been a persistent problem for individuals enrolled on the Obamacare state exchanges. Alexander hopes to have a piece of legislation crafted by Sept. 15.

While Republicans mull over these proposals, roughly a dozen Senate Democrats are rallying behind legislation that aims to expand Medicare and create a single-payer health care system in America. The bill is known as “Medicare-For-All,” and is championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

While little is known about the specifics of the legislation, a number of prominent Democratic senators have jumped on board. 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. Booker, Gillibrand, Harris and Warren have also joined Sanders as co-sponsors of the bill.

Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation via iCopyright license.

  • Michael G. Wilson

    Just repeal the whole thing. Period!!! No amnesty!!! No DACA period!!!

    • Bob Wexler

      Just repeal the whole thing. Period!!! No amnesty!!! No DACA period!!!

      What does amnesty and DACA have to do with totally repealing OCare?
      I do agree OCare should go.

      • Zinnarae

        Less freeloaders on the system..

        • WhiteFalcon

          If you want to get rid of free loaders, we should rescind all the perks that those in the Congress have.

          • Zinnarae

            I so agree, but their not the only ones……

            Sent from my Galaxy Tab® E

            ——– Original message ——–

    • jscarano7

      your right on brother

  • Nana Monster

    We were fine BEFORE Obama stuck his nose in our healthcare. Now no one can afford the medical. He was too busy including free medical to Muslims into the 2700 pages. Because it goes against their religion that’s why it’s free for them. Gotta love the mess he’s made of our country.

    • mzliberty2013

      Nana, Obama absolutely has ruined heath care for Americans, never mind all the other things he has done to bring our Country down!! Now everyone want a health care program that won’t have them pay huge premiums in addition to ‘on the spot’ care! What a mess!!! I did not know that Muslims are getting ‘free health care’ due to their religion!! That absolutely has to be changed!!

      • smilee

        PURE BS

        • Bernie

          Hey Smilee,
          What’s pure BS?
          Obamacare?
          FREE healthcare?
          Universal healthcare?
          Exactly what?

          • smilee

            mzliberty2013 entire post!! None you injected into it!

        • Yes you are. Always have been; always will be.

      • Nana Monster

        I read it on some news blurbs when Obamacare was first implemented…it was buried deep in the pages. Never really made the lame stream media. Which seeing as how’s it’s controlled by the left a LOT of stuff never makes it there.

    • smilee

      JUST FINE, LOL 40 million persons could not afford insurance before Obamaqcare and that is not JUST FINE, only 9 million now do not have insurance and only about 5% of them cannot now afford it. So you are just wrong!

      • Bernie

        Smilee,
        Are you saying more Americans can now afford health insurance on their own, without taxpayer subsidies?
        Are you saying healthcare is a “right”?
        What good is insurance of you can’t use it?

        • smilee

          Did not say any of that so why are you spinning what I said?

          • Bernie

            So, let me get this straight.
            You’re saying 31 million can afford insurance WITHOUT subsidies?
            You’re saying healthcare IS a “right”?
            Got it…..

          • smilee

            You have a real comprehension problem don’t you. I said nothing of the sort so why are you persisting on putting words in my mouth?

          • Bernie

            Not a comprehension problem at all.
            But it seems you and others like you have a problem at grasping what it takes for you to have access to what you believe is a “right”.
            Healthcare just doesn’t grow on trees.
            It takes a massive amount of dedication, struggle, studying, sacrifice and years just so schmucks like you and the phony Bernie Sanders to stand there and demand/insist that something is a “right”.
            Now, good night.
            I have to get up in the morning so I can earn some monry just so I have a “right” to see and pay my doctor when I need him/her.

  • Howlingmad

    They better start getting up off their AZZS, an actually “Get something Done” . . . 18 is COMING ! ! !

    • Yarbles

      This is precisely why I don’t think there will be a Mid-term election in 2018. The Globalists can’t afford to wait any longer for their ‘Great Financial Reset’.

      • Howlingmad

        If you mean that SOMETHING, is likely to actually “Happen” . . . I have to say that I AGREE with you ( Its why I just bought a “Semi-Auto Shotgun” ) . . . if it DOESN’T, that it “Will Happen”, the only known will be the OUTCOME !.

        • Yarbles

          You might be better served with a .223 Wilde Carbine for both home defense and if SHTF. Prices are excellent right now on some really good and even premium weapons.

          Hope you have at least one, plenty of spare magazines (Magpul) and plenty of ammunition (M193, 855).

          Keep the faith.

          • Howlingmad

            Never had any respect for the round, since the NAM ( I carried a “Grease Gun” there . . . ) The shotgun I bought, is an AR-12 ( Give it a look, “On Line” ) . . . It LOOKS just like a 16, except its a 12 ga. I use ZONE DEFENSE . . . its effective at “Short to Med Range” ( Out to 150 to 200 yds with “Sauvestre Slugs” ) My DPMS “Panther” rifle takes care of everything after that ( Or my M1A ) I’m “Well Equiped” dude !.I’ve got NO WORRIES !.

  • RedRiverD

    There is NO middle ground with the (UN) Affordable (DON’T) Care Act, PERIOD.
    It is NOT an affordable act, never has been, never will be!
    I am living PROOF that the ACA does NOT work, never has, NEVER WILL. Unless of course you are NOT on the ACA, like ALL politicians and their subordinates.
    Make THEM go on the ACA and I bet they get something done post haste.
    No one that has not had to live with the ACA has ANY idea what it is like, ESPECIALLY POLITICIANS.

    • 78NTSUDE

      Right On !

    • OldSilk

      It is plenty affordable for big insurance which never has to pay a claim while you pay outrageous premiums PLUS all of your out of pocket each year.

    • Garrett Auman

      YES , RedRiverD !!!!!! How do we get these greedy politicians on the the same Insurance that we have to contend with???????????? WE NEED TO START IT NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gregg Parker

    So the Senate finally agrees to change the name from Obamacare to BarackObamacare and call the payouts block grants instead of waivers and government payments. Stick it RINOs!… let it roll for a few more months and we’ll do it without all of you in the next Congress with new leadership.
    SIT DOWN WALDO!!

  • Dave Campbell

    “Behind me is the only thing between you and single-payer health care,” Graham said Wednesday.

    I believe that, in a fig leaf kinda way.

    “If you believe repealing and replacing Obamacare is a good idea, this is your best and only chance to make that happen.”

    I don’t believe that for 1 second. Sounds more like a threat.

    • Gregg Parker

      We’d stand a better chance if he was hit by a car…

  • rennyangel2

    You guys promised to repeal if you took back the House. You got it in 2010. Then you said you needed the sen. So you got the sen. in 2014. And THEN you had to have the WH (which no doubt was true), but we got you the WH and a pres. who will sign a bill, SO JUST DO IT.

    • Gregg Parker

      we need the Seals to take out a few of them on their way home. Repeal would be done quickly..

      • worn out 123

        Silly talk.

        • Gregg Parker

          Yes I know. I’m just not sure if their “repeal and replace effort is as silly or more silly than mine… mine was designed to be silly.. theirs wa not…

  • barbarakelly

    Bernie —-people no single payer. NO NO NO First check this out then you will see why you don’t want this. Look up England healthcare with is onepayer health care. Find out our long those people have to wait to go see a Dr. or when they might be schedules for surgery. It is a mess over there. YOu don’t want it. AND IF THEY PASS THIS TO YOU THEN THE GOV. NEEDS TO BE ONE IT FIRST AND THEN WATCH THEM SCREAM NO ABOUT THAT.!!!

  • Carole

    Republicans do not want to repeal Obamacare. If they do they will lose the 72% healthcare subsidy Obama gave them and their employees. Since Obama gave this subsidy to them illegally and from a different part of the budget, the President can end it with the stroke of his pen. Then watch how fast Congress gets a good health care plan in place!

    • smilee

      ALL LIES!!

      • Carole

        No lies here smilee. Look it up.

      • Bernie

        Hey smilee,
        Why didn’t you become a doctor?
        And how come all those schmucks that believe healthcare is a “right” won’t go back to school for at least another 10 years and become doctors?

        • smilee

          Why all these stupid irrelevant questions???

          • Bernie

            Not at all irrelevant.
            Why do people like you RELY on others just so you have a “right” to something?
            You don’t have a “right” to something unless you or someone else pays for it.
            Kapish….?

          • smilee

            Not relevant as a response to my post so again you are attempijng to spin what I said. She lied and I called her on it that was all.

    • Joel Morris

      I can’t help but wonder why President Trump hasn’t already ended the subsidies for Congress and their staff. Lots of things come to mind but I have nothing to go on. All insider BS.

      • Carole

        Joel, I can only guess but I think President Trump believed Congress would truly repeal and replace Obamacare, which would have automatically repealed the subsidy since it was an “executive order” under Obamacare.

  • smilee

    Never get a vote, last ditch vote has already been taken, time to move on.

  • Jon Blake

    They’re just trying to salvage whats already going to be a slaughter House for the GOP in 2018.
    (And nobody’s buying this charade)

  • jscarano7

    completely repeal obamacare all of it”””” that fkn name sickens me all over” bring back our health
    care system that we had around eight years ago it was fine”

  • Dennis Smith

    Obama ruined our health care system.If it’s so great,Then why doesn’t my congressman have it

  • Ronald Nelson

    There is no salvaging the ACA…. A phased, clean repeal of the ACA is the only acceptable bill. The GOP will OWN THE ACA if they attempt to replace/amend it… too, supposedly fix it. All members of Congress must be on the same program their fellow American’s are… in any bill that passes… no more elitism and special privileges for the members of Congress. Congress must pay for their own health insurance just like most American’s do.

  • Ron Long

    Does this new bill remove the Congressional carve outs and exemptions? Does it make them live under the same health care system that they are forcing on everyone else?

  • DeadToad

    I wonder if the GOP realizes that many of their jobs rely on passing this bill. If they can’t get this past 2018 is probably not going to go very well for them.

  • 4everBfree

    REPEAL PERIOD!!!!!

  • OldSilk

    It is only affordable to big insurance. You pay hefty monthly premiums that cost more than your mortgage or rent and all other bills combined, and big insurance never has to pay a claim, because your deductibles are so high.

  • silver fox

    get this thing done

  • Kbuzz

    There will always be good points and bad points to every program. The problem with ACA is it is affordable – sometimes – because everybody else is paying for it.
    If one has existing conditions, ACA mandates they be insured…something Insurance companies would never do previously. It is a good thing but now others have to pick up that cost. And it is costly.
    I have a very good insurance, but from the day ACA was proposed, Insurance companies saw the writing on the wall and began changing their rates. In 8 years, my insurance changed from: family coverage to just me, now just to add my spouse costs an additional $8,000 per year, and if one has children, that rate almost doubles; co-pay went from $0 to $25, emergency went to $50+, and Office visits use to be a one time payment even when doing follow-ups or referrals – now its every office visit. And I could not keep my doctor.
    Glad to here you were lucky, but the majority lost on this big time.

  • Aunt Nonnie S

    Do we really want our Medicare to be anything like the VA? That’s what they want folks.

  • John Flynn

    you used to coach the Bulls??

  • John

    Oh goody they’re gonna try. That sounds like a limp writsted softball pitch.
    A vast majority of these clowns ran on repeal, some multiple times.