Lindsey Graham really wants his new bill — which would drastically cut healthcare for the poor — to become law before we have (gasp) universal healthcare!
In a press conference Senator Graham (R-South Carolina) had to introduce his bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which he called the Republican Party’s “best and only chance” to get rid of former President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reform law, he attempted to scare his Republican colleagues into supporting the bill by saying universal healthcare would be “inevitable” should they fall a few votes short of passage.
“If you want a single payer health care system, this is your worst nightmare. Bernie [Sanders], this ends your dream of a single-payer health care system for America,” Graham said. “So we need people on board now to stop what I think is inevitable if we fail — which is single-payer health care for all.”
— Prime Politics (@Prime_Politics) September 13, 2017
Graham-Cassidy is arguably the worst Obamacare repeal bill yet in terms of cuts to healthcare for low-income families and hiking of health insurance premiums. Should the bill pass and become law, it would end the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, meaning millions of low-income and middle-class Americans who were able to obtain health insurance under Obamacare would no longer have coverage. Lindsey Graham’s proposal would also end the individual and employer mandates, meaning the risk pool would become much older and sicker, raising health insurance premiums for anyone buying insurance.
Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill, on the other hand, would expand the existing Medicare program to all Americans, allowing them to buy into the program rather than having to wait until retirement. Americans would have a “Universal Medicare card” to use for any and all healthcare procedures, from hospital stays to surgery, substance abuse treatment, and even dental, vision, and reproductive care. Upon rollout of his bill, Sanders criticized Senate Republicans for working behind closed doors to eliminate healthcare for millions of Americans.
“To my Republican colleagues, please don’t lecture us on health care,” Sanders said during a press conference. “In the last few months, you, the Republican Party have shown the American people what you stand for.”
In order to pass Lindsey Graham’s bill through the budget reconciliation process, which only requires 51 votes in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs the support of both Senators John McCain (R-Ariona) and Lisa Murkoski (R-Alaska) in order to eke out a narrow victory, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tiebreaker vote. There are currently 48 of 52 Republicans publicly in support of the measure, with Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) in the “no” column. If either McCain or Murkowski vote “no,” Obamacare repeal is officially dead for the remainder of 2017.
Jordan Shaw is a New Jersey-based writer and commentator specializing in national and state government issues. When he’s not writing, you can find him volunteering in Camden, New Jersey, or hiking the Wissahickon Valley Park.