The fate of the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare “fix” bill is probably failure, and that’s a pretty good thing. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul certainly appears to be against the bill, telling NBC’s Meet The Press he’s got plenty of issues with it.
Well, I’ve always been a “yes” for repeal. But the bill, unfortunately, the Graham-Cassidy bill basically keeps most of the Obamacare spending, almost all of the spending, and just re-shuffles it and block grants it to the states. So I don’t think block-granting Obamacare makes—it doesn’t make it go away. It just means you’re keeping all the money we’ve been spending through Obamacare, most of it, re-shuffling it, taking the money from Democrat states and giving it to Republican states. I think what it sets up is a perpetual food fight over the formula. What happens when the Democrats win? They’re going to try to claw back that money from Republican states and give it to Democrat states. This is a bad idea. It’s not repeal. However, all that being said, if they narrow the focus to things we all agree on: expanding health savings accounts, giving governors more freedom through waivers, slowing down the rate of growth of an outrageous or out-of-control entitlement spending, sure, I’d be for that. But, uh, I’m just not for this block-granting concept because to me that is an affirmative vote that I’ve agreed to keep Obamacare.
He also suggested some tweaks to the bill, like expanding HSAs and to do block grants at “pre-Obama levels,” meaning the government would cut spending and try to get its financial house in order. This is something all conservatives and libertarians should support wholeheartedly. I’m still hoping Paul’s replacement bill will at least get a hearing or two in the Senate, and am pretty disappointed only the ones like Graham-Cassidy or Trump/Ryancare got press, and votes.
It’s not Paul who is a “no” vote on this latest bill. Texas Senator Ted Cruz told TribFest he wasn’t going to support it. Via The Dallas Morning News:
Cruz said his support would depend on what’s in the bill and said Democrats are “not willing to be part of the solution.
“I want to be a ‘yes,'” Cruz said. “Right now they don’t have my vote and I don’t think they have [Utah Sen.] Mike Lee’s either.”
But conservative and libertarian activist groups are also coming out against the bill. Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Chip Roy said the bill didn’t go far enough in cutting regulations and reducing premiums.
“Unfortunately, the Graham-Cassidy bill falls short of that standard. While the bill zeroes out both the individual and employer mandate penalties, eliminates the ill-advised and unconstitutionally funded cost-sharing reduction subsidies, and makes important strides in block-granting Medicaid to the states, it retains vast portions of Obamacare. Specifically, it keeps in place the cost-driving insurance regulations and mandates as the standard, but then provides partial, optional state waivers of only some of the regulations. Moreover, these waivers are conditioned on receipt of federal subsidies through a new $1.2 trillion grant program. Such a scheme creates moral hazard and leaves states subservient to the whims of federal bureaucrats while driving up costs.”
FreedomWorks took a little bit more of a cautious take on the legislation. Jason Pye wrote in The Hill there are changes which make a lot of sense, but it’s still too much government.
Graham-Cassidy is being hailed as a federalist approach to addressing the many problems with ObamaCare. Let’s be clear here. Graham-Cassidy isn’t true federalism as defined by the Tenth Amendment, which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The federal government still controls the money, and, in the current text, it still determines whether or not a state can waive certain ObamaCare regulations. The approach Graham-Cassidy takes may be an improvement over ObamaCare, but it’s grounded in a twisted definition of federalism.
Pye also suggested the Graham-Cassidy bill should only be considered a “step” in solving the problem, while also castigating Congress for not voting again on previous repeals which passed, but were vetoed by former President Barack Obama. It’s pretty frustrating the GOP doesn’t appear to be willing to do “actual repeal” of Obamacare, and are more interested in expanding the role of government while claiming they did what they promised. Not that I actually believed the GOP could do what they claimed they’d do.
It’s a little ridiculous to blame Senator John McCain for the upcoming failure of Graham-Cassidy. There are several Republicans who are against the bill because it doesn’t actually repeal Obamacare. Whether it sends a message to President Donald Trump and the rest of the GOP is anyone’s guess.