I’ve already written dismissively of Lindsey Graham’s approach to healthcare “reform.”
Today, with it getting so much more attention, I share with you this view of it, headlined “New Trumpcare Deserves a Quick Death.” An excerpt:
On Wednesday, a group of Republican senators plan to release a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It comes from Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and they will market it as a bill that gives states the flexibility to create the system that they want.
But that’s deeply misleading. While it would theoretically give states more flexibility, the bill would mostly rob states of money to pay for health insurance — and millions of Americans would lose coverage as a result. Think of it this way: Every reader of this newsletter has the theoretical flexibility to buy a private jet.
Cassidy-Graham, as the bill is known, ends up looking remarkably similar to previous repeal attempts. It would likely result in 15 million Americans losing their insurance next year and more than 30 million losing it a decade from now (based on analyses of an early version of the bill, which was similar to previous Republican health bills). “The similarities are more striking than the differences,” Aviva AronDine of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities told me.
The same column hints at a far better way for our senior senator to direct his energies:
There is also good reason to hope that Cassidy-Graham dies quickly. Members of both parties — like Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican — now seem open to a bipartisan bill to fix some of Obamacare’s problems. A Senate committee held a hearing on the subject yesterday. But it was clear at the hearing that Republicans have a hard time talking publicly about bipartisan compromise so long as the fantasy of a beneficial repeal bill remains alive….
Indeed. Y’all know I’m a Lindsey Graham fan (most of the time), but I was a Lamar Alexander fan long before that. And this time, Lamar is clearly in the right of it. And what Graham is doing is actually an impediment to wise policy.
It amazes me that anyone from South Carolina could think that turning it all over to the states could be a good idea, given that our solons utterly refused a Medicaid expansion underwritten by the Feds simply because it was associated with “Obamacare.”
Lindsey should drop his bad idea like a hot potato and get behind Alexander’s effort. Or better yet, support Bernie Sanders’ single-payer approach. But somehow I’m thinking the Alexander option would be less of a strain for him.
It’s time to get past this “Repeal Obamacare” mania that afflicts Republicans, and get on to serious matters of governance…
Here’s Graham’s release about the proposal:
Anything in the lede of that release make you go, “Huh?”
That was my reaction to Rick Santorum, who is not a current member of the Senate, being one of the “senators” making this proposal.
It prompted two thoughts:
1. Could you not get any more actual senators behind the plan?
2. Is reaching outside the Senate to pull in Rick Santorum supposed to make me feel better about this plan, or worse?
Graham just sent out another release headlined, “Graham: GOP “Can’t Quit on Repealing and Replacing Obamacare.”
Yeah, you can. And you need to, for the good of the country. McConnell’s given up. Why can’t you?
Today I introduced legislation to replace Obamacare with health care reform that puts patients first and returns power to the states.
From the start, Obamacare has been a disaster.
Two of its biggest problems are that it was never designed to be patient-friendly and it rewards states that favor big government.
Instead of a Washington-knows-best attitude, my legislation cosponsored by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Dean Heller (R-Nevada) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) sets out to change that dynamic by empowering those closest to the health care needs of their communities to provide solutions.
Our bill is already under attack by some of the chief architects of Obamacare. In fact, one of them called our legislation “the most significant threat” to repeal Obamacare.
They are worried and for good reason. It was crafted hand-in-hand with our nation’s governors who understand the unique health care needs of their states. It also moves power out of Washington unlike Obamacare which aims to consolidate power in Washington.
More specifically our bill:
I’m working hard to get this done for the people of South Carolina who have suffered long enough under Obamacare.
I’ll keep you updated as this proposal moves forward.
Lindsey O. Graham
United States Senator
It starts, of course, with a couple of lies that increasingly are accepted as truth in the alternative universe that too many Republicans — and Trump supporters as well — inhabit:
“From the start, Obamacare has been a disaster.” That is simply not the case. You don’t make a statement like that without backing it up — unless you are talking only to people who believe it without evidence.
“Two of its biggest problems are that it was never designed to be patient-friendly and it rewards states that favor big government.” What he means there, of course, is “states that actually want to extend health benefits to people who currently lack coverage.”
What plan IS patient-friendly? One of the problems with the twisted wilderness of private insurance AND the ACA is that they are almost impossible for a layperson to navigate.
Which is why single-payer is the way to go…
Sander’s idea is half right (the universal coverage part), but his plan will “break the bank.” California just looked into a similar program for their state, but an appropriations committee estimated it would cost $400 billion, over twice the state’s annual budget.
Universal catastrophic coverage has elements from both progressive and conservative playbooks; it combines the federal guarantee of insurance for all with the cost-controlling benefits of insurers competing for that business. For more details, search “universal catastrophic coverage.”