Last week Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana revealed the Republican Party’s fourth attempt at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This bill went through several revisions, and quickly gained momentum before fizzling out before it could even go to a vote.
What does this bill do?
- Ends ACA Medicaid expansion subsidies and replaces them with block grants directly to states
- These block grants will gradually decrease over time until they disappeared entirely in 2027.
- According to the Congressional Budget Office, implementation of the bill could result in millions losing their healthcare, although a comprehensive number was not reported.
- Steers money toward Alaska
- Weakens protections for pre-existing conditions, allowing states to waive the rule against raising prices for pre-existing conditions without federal insight.
Why was it revised?
- Revisions specifically targeted moderate Republican Senators that have previously voted no on ACA repeals.
- Mainly this included Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, John McCain of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Susan Collins of Maine
- Hardline coservatives like Ted Cruz of Texas were also targeted by weakening pre-existing conditions and defunding Medicaid expansion
Why was the vote stopped?
- Graham and Cassidy only had until Sept. 30 to rally 51 votes yes on the bill
- After the last healthcare bill failed, online donations decreased by 40 percent and pledges to the Republican party decreased by 60 percent.
- With the date approaching and not enough votes, Republicans did not want another public healthcare reform to fail.
- Only 20 percent of the public approve of this bill as a replacement for Obamacare according to a poll taken by CBS News
- The public hearing held Monday was interrupted by more than 200 protesters, largely disabled.
What happens next?
- Vice President Mike Pence has stated to Senate Republicans that healthcare reform must occur before the 2018 midterm elections.
- Despite the failure of the Graham-Cassidy bill, Lindsay Graham and other republicans remain optimistic and determined that the ACA will be repealed and replaced
I’m very confident it’s not a matter of IF we pass #GrahamCassidy-Heller-Johnson….
it’s only a matter of WHEN.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 27, 2017