Across Party Lines, Lawmakers Declare Graham-Cassidy a Disaster

If all goes according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan, the Senate will finally hold a vote and repeal the Affordable Care Act, replacing Obamacare with the Graham-Cassidy health care bill.

Yes, even though no one on either side of the aisle — outside of Congress — actually supports this proposed legislation.

As attempts to garner support for the new health care bill reached fever pitch, Republicans believed they might finally have the 50 votes to end Obamacare — in the case of a tie, Vice President Mike Pence gets to break it, securing a win for the GOP. While rumors swirled that Tea Party Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky would vote against the bill, other reports suggested that his vote would be replaced with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.

What changed Murkowski’s mind? Apparently the administration promised her that if she votes to end Obamacare, her own state can not only keep all the benefits of the ACA for another five years, but Alaska can also reap the tax rewards being offered to the rich. It’s the best of all worlds.

With Murkowski possibly flipped and Arizona Senator John McCain initially appearing to be on board with his friend Lindsay Graham’s proposal, the Republicans didn’t necessarily need Rand Paul’s support any longer. But that didn’t stop them from pressuring the Kentucky Senator anyway.

The president chastised Paul and other potential “no” votes, tweeting, “Rand Paul, or whoever votes against Hcare Bill, will forever (future political campaigns) be known as ‘the Republican who saved Obamacare.” Paul responded, stating that he will not be “bullied or bribed” into voting for a repeal plan that allegedly leaves almost all of Obamacare intact.

Paul may think that most of the ACA reforms will stay in place, but he’s virtually alone in that belief.

The Graham-Cassidy plan could dramatically limit Medicaid funds over a period of ten years, leaving more people once again uninsured. Additionally, the bill would not force insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions, and it would eliminate mandatory coverage for annual exams, prenatal care, childbirth, contraception, mental health care, addiction treatment and a myriad of other healthcare needs.

And without a Congressional Budget Office score prior to the vote — just like last time, as Care2′s Kevin Matthews notes — there’s no clear answer to how much this massive insurance denial will cost taxpayers, even with the removal of these extra services and resources.

In the face of the massive cuts, the redistribution of wealth, the likely collapse of Medicaid and the resulting decline in insured people, non-congressional politicians, pundits and policymakers on both sides of the aisle pleaded with the GOP to call off the vote. Republican governors opposed the bill for potentially decimating their states’ Medicaid funds.

“Flexibility with reduced funding is a false choice,” Republican Governor Brian Sandoval told The Nevada Independent. “I will not pit seniors, children, families, the mentally ill, the critically ill, hospitals, care providers, or any other Nevadan against each other because of cuts to Nevada’s healthcare delivery system proposed by the Graham-Cassidy amendment.”

Sandoval wasn’t alone in his concerns, either. Medicaid directors from every state in the nation — both Republican and Democrat — released a statement urging the GOP to reconsider its vote.

As Talking Points Memo reports:

In a blistering statement released Friday morning, the association representing state Medicaid directors took Congress to task for rushing a bill to the floor that would completely overhaul the nation’s health care system in just a few years and deeply cut the federal money available to states to cover hundreds of millions of people. We are concerned that this legislation would undermine efforts in many states and fail to deliver on our collective goal of an improved health care system,’ wrote the board of the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD), a 12-member body elected by all 56 U.S. Medicaid directors.

And in another shocking move, the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops also condemned the vote, urging lawmakers to return Medicaid funds. The group suggested simply removing Planned Parenthood and eliminating any abortion coverage through an amendment instead.

Catholic News Service explains:

‘Without significant improvement, this bill does not meet the moral criteria for health care reform outlined in our previous letters and must be changed,’ they said. That criteria includes respect for life and dignity; honoring conscience rights; access for all; and a high-quality plan that is affordable and comprehensive. The bishops criticized the measure’s Medicaid ‘per capita cap’ because it puts an ‘insufferable burden’ on poor and vulnerable Americans. They did praise the bill for correcting ‘a serious flaw’ in the ACA by ensuring ‘no federal funds are used for abortion or go to plans that cover it.’ They called on senators to amend the bill to address it flaws but retain the pro-life provisions.

If the bill passes the Senate, the House has already agreed to follow suit and get the legislation to the president before the September 30 deadline. Meanwhile, President Trump has promised to sign the Graham-Cassidy bill the moment it hits his desk.

And should that occur, we may well have a new health care law that was literally only supported by the members of Congress who cast votes in favor of it — oh, and the very small portion of extremely wealthy Americans who will reap the tax benefits that come their way at the expense of the poor and sick.

Luckily, once again Arizona Senator John McCain has announced that he will oppose the bill, maintaining that more time is necessary for a hearing instead of a rushed and uninformed vote. McCain will likely feel the backlash from his party for years, but at least Obamacare appears safe again – for the moment.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, via wikimedia commons

63 comments

Mike R
Mike R4 days ago

Thanks

SEND
Mike R
Mike R4 days ago

Thanks

SEND
Mike R
Mike R4 days ago

Thanks

SEND
Jennifer H
Jennifer H19 days ago

I gotta say for someone who's supposed to be "running a country", can't the fruitcake orange man get off twitter and just shut up.

SEND
Brian F
Brian F22 days ago

Regus First of all the Democrats cheated Bernie Sanders out of his primary and lied about the Nevada convention, by falsely claiming Bernie Sanders supporters threw chairs. Hillary was anointed by corrupt corporate establishment sellout Democrats like you. Bernie Sanders had much larger crowds than the small ones your corporatist and war monger Hillary who supported the Iraq war, Monsanto, and Natural gas fracking, had. Bernie Sanders is the most popular Politian in the country, and supports progressive policies that we desperately need like single payer universal healthcare, unlike most of the corrupt corporate establishment Democrats that you support like Nancy Pelosi who is worth 100 million dollars, and refuses to support single payer universal healthcare because she is bought and paid for by our criminal healthcare industry like the Republicans. Your queen of corruption Hillary was so corrupt, Republicans voted for her because they would make more money if she was elected. The Democrats have an extremely unfair super delegate rule that gives the incumbent over 400 super delegates before having a challenger. Despite entering the race late, Bernie Sanders came very close to beating your Wall Street crook and liar Hillary. Bernie Sanders is the leader of the Democratic party, and it’s time for corporate establishment sellout Democrats like you to support him or get out of the party.

SEND
Jonathan Y
Jonathan Y23 days ago

Zombiecare is sidelined again, thanks to Senators McCain and Collins. Incredibly, Trump and the Republicans are going to bring it up in next year's session. It boggles the mind how this President could repeatedly try to take away healthcare from so many poor and unemployed Middle Americans who voted for him. Good luck keeping your Congressional seats in the 2018 elections.

SEND
Regus Slantei
Regus Slantei23 days ago

Brian -- What a hoot. You are a bottomless pit of a never-ending, repetitious Tourettes-like stupidity. You should be selected as the poster-boy for the [R]'s mis-information campaign against evolution, because it would indeed be difficult for modern science to isolate those of your genes and intellectual characteristics that have unequivocally benefited from it.

Hillary kicked Bernie's a$$, and then kicked Trump's a$$ by 3 MILLION votes. The only reason your Russian-approved $hitgibbon is in office is because of an 18th century election law that was created to preserve the immoral institution of black slavery in this country. And this is what you hang your vapid rhetorical hat on?....and you call yourself a "progressive"? Like any other [R], you are an embarrassment to yourself, and an embarrassment to this country.

Period.

SEND
Brian F
Brian F23 days ago

Regus The Russia story is phony, and being used by corporate fake Democrats like you to divert attention from the Democrats cheating Bernie Sanders out of his primary, lying about the Nevada convention, and anointing your Wall Street crook and liar Hillary, which caused this fraud Trump to win. The only one who has the intellect and morals of a 3-year old is you. Most of the Democrats you support like Nancy Pelosi who is worth 100 million dollars, are refusing to support single payer universal healthcare, because they are bought and paid for by big pharma and our criminal healthcare industry like the Republicans. Bernie Sanders has long ago disavowed ignorant corporate establishment Democratic sellouts like you. As we all know on Care2, corporations own both corrupt parties and our media, and you and David F support the corrupt corporate owned two party duopoly that has destroyed this country, and is blocking honest progressives like Bernie Sanders from having any power, so they can continue their corruption, and destroy the country. You have openly stated that you hate Jill Stein, which demonstrates you're an ignorant sellout like David F, and part of the corrupt corporate power structure that has destroyed this country.

SEND
Philippa P
Philippa P24 days ago

Thanks.

SEND
Regus Slantei
Regus Slantei24 days ago

Brian F,

As discussed on other Care2 threads, and as you have so nicely corroborated with your insipid commentary right here on this thread, you have the intellect and morals of a 3-year old.

Bernie has long ago disowned you, and other like-minded political gerbils who pooped all over his campaign, because of your out-of-context, ideologically immature gullibility for Russian propaganda.

As you well know, and as we here on Care2 have already witnessed, YOU and David F. have openly traded political bl*wjobs on some of these threads. Don't now try to distance yourself from the shameful evidence by trying to laughably link me with David F.

David F. is a coward. You are a moron. You two make a cute couple.

Cletus

SEND