The latest Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is facing some resistance from several key Republicans who have the ability to sink the latest healthcare bill which enacts a new state block grant program to fund state designed health care reform programs.
The Graham-Cassidy Amendment unveiled by Republicans on September 13th repeals Affordable Care Act mandates with premium and cost sharing subsidies and establishes a new state block grant program, a market based health care grant program, appropriated at $ 1.176 trillion over 7 years.
The proposed amendment also prohibits federal Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood clinics for one year, and adds a state option to work as a condition of Medicaid eligibility for nonelderly adults who are not disabled or pregnant.
Unscored by the influential Congressional Budget Office (CBO), that typically offers detailed analysis about long-term costs and its projected healthcare impact, Democrats and some Republicans believe that the new amendment is being rushed through for political purposes.
The vote of the amendment is expected later in the week before a September 30th deadline that impacts the number of votes needed for approval and elevates it procedurally to 60 votes instead of the 51 majority prior to September 30th.
Arizona Republican Senator John McCain has already voiced his disapproval for the proposed amendment and admitted that he can’t in good conscious vote for the new Republican healthcare proposal.
In a statement released on Friday McCain said, “I would consider supporting legislation similar to that offered by my friends Senators Graham and Cassidy were it the product of extensive hearings, debate and amendment. But that has not been the case.”
Sen. McCain explained that he can’t support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.
“Without a full CBO score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions” McCain added.
Speaking on CBS’s Face The Nation, Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) said that he thinks the CBO will have a role to play in this and noted there’s some information and text changes that will be coming through a committee hearing on Monday that will give more information to an initial analysis of the bill from the Health and Human Services (HHS).
Sen. Gardner said that what is in place right now with healthcare in Colorado has led to double digit health care increases and explained he hopes to work together and put something in place that actually works to lower the cost of healthcare and increase the quality of care.
Another opponent of the proposed Republican healthcare bill is Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) who said on CBS’s Face the Nation that she’s concerned about the impact on Medicaid which is an important program in her state because it provides needed healthcare to low-income and vulnerable citizens and she also voiced concerns about the projections.
“And some of the projections are that a trillion dollars would be taken out of the Medicaid program between the year 2020 and 2036. That would have a devastating impact. And the changes, the sweeping changes have not been thoroughly analyzed by Congress” Sen. Collins said.
Sen. Collins admitted that she’s concerned because the Graham-Cassidy Amendment weakens the protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and cancer and also expressed concerns about the impact on premium costs and on the number of people who will be covered.
President Trump claims the Graham-Cassidy Amendment includes coverage of pre-existing conditions.
In a tweet on September 20th President Trump tweeted, “I would not sign Graham-Cassidy if it did not include coverage of pre-existing conditions. It does! A great Bill. Repeal & Replace.”
I would not sign Graham-Cassidy if it did not include coverage of pre-existing conditions. It does! A great Bill. Repeal & Replace.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2017
President Trump played the role of a seer after he criticized Sen. Rand Paul who opposes the Graham-Cassidy Amendment and predicted that whoever votes against the healthcare bill will be forever known as “the Republican who saved ObamaCare.”
Trump tweeted “Rand Paul, or whoever votes against Hcare Bill, will forever (future political campaigns) be known as “the Republican who saved ObamaCare.”
Rand Paul, or whoever votes against Hcare Bill, will forever (future political campaigns) be known as "the Republican who saved ObamaCare."
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 22, 2017
President Trump also supports large block grants to U.S. states as a replacement model to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and claims there will be “better control and management.”
Trump tweeted on Saturday, “Large Block Grants to States is a good thing to do. Better control & management. Great for Arizona. McCain let his best friend L.G. down!”
Large Block Grants to States is a good thing to do. Better control & management. Great for Arizona. McCain let his best friend L.G. down!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
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