September 18, 2017
Weeks after Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) pulled off a political stunner -- blocking the GOP's health care bill at the last second -- Republicans refuse to say die. Over the summer recess of soul-searching, two senators put their heads together and hatched a new plan to try and make good on the party's seven-year promise to rescue the country from Obama's signature law.
Up against the Senate clock, which leaves two weeks for Republicans to work on a repeal, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) think they have the answer to the $3 trillion failure that's destroying lives, spiking costs, and crushing freedom. Under their measure, which relies heavily on block grants, states would have the autonomy to design their own health care plans.
"One of the most interesting reforms in Graham-Cassidy," Forbes explains, "is that, over time, it ends a significant bias in the Medicaid program toward wealthy states like California, Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland. Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal government and the states; on average, Washington foots about 60 percent of the bill. In theory, the federal government is supposed to foot higher proportions of the bill for poorer states; but because the minimum match is set to 50 percent, a number of very wealthy states receive a lot more money than they should."
It would scrap Obamacare's individual (and unconstitutional) insurance mandate, a lot of its burdensome taxes, and, most importantly, a major funding stream to Planned Parenthood. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is behind it, along with Donald Trump, who's ramped up his involvement with personal calls and meetings. White House officials, who never gave up on Trump's number-one priority despite months of fits and starts, say it's "all hands on deck."
With just two weeks to cycle the bill through the House and Senate, the GOP's biggest enemy may be the calendar. And while a number of Republican senators are lining up behind the effort, leaders can only afford to lose two votes if they want to keep the push alive. That could be a tall order in a party that's sometimes bullied by a handful of liberal Republicans like Senators Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska). As usual, they're bucking the language to defund Planned Parenthood -- which is non-negotiable, as House conservatives have made quite clear. In a joint statement with SBA List, FRC echoed their concerns, reminding senators:
"The prior Congress passed legislation to repeal Obamacare and fund alternatives instead of Planned Parenthood that would have become law had it not been vetoed by President Obama, and now they have a commitment from President Trump to sign it. The pro-life majority controls both chambers of Congress and White House. The GOP is without excuse. We urge them to keep their promise and repeal Obamacare and end the forced partnership between taxpayers and Planned Parenthood. Failure to keep their promise to voters will bring into question whether this Congress can truly be called the 'pro-life Congress.' Rhetoric must be translated into verifiable action."
Senator Graham agrees, pointing out that conservatives are "not going to tolerate us just sitting around saying we did the best we could. One and done is not going to do it." He's right. In two weeks, the GOP will either end this war against the unborn -- or be responsible for keeping it alive. Did the American people elect leaders who keep their word -- or politicians who make empty promises to win? In 12 days, we'll know.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.