A new Republican bill that would gut the Affordable Care Act (ACAA) and replace it with block grants to the states to implement their own health care programs — even single-payer — is breathing new life into the “repeal and replace” movement that failed just seven weeks ago.
Already, however, Sens. Rand Paul (R.-Ky.) and Susan Collins (R.-R.I.) have bowed out, leaving just 50 Republican senators to pass the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill, with the decisive vote left to Senate President Mike Pence. Last time around, Sens. Paul and Collins indeed voted nay, but they were joined by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, dooming that effort to 49 votes.
McCain, a good friend of Graham’s, said he could be persuaded this time, so long as the bill goes through full hearings in the Senate. Trouble is, the Senate Parliamentarian has told Republicans that their ability to use the reconciliation process (simple majority approval) ends for the ACA on Sept. 30.
Already, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida is promoting the measure in Time magazine:
[I]t includes many of the best revisions in the Senate Republican ‘Better Care Reconciliation Act.’ It repeals Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates and subsidies; allows for the expansion of Health Savings Accounts; enables states to reform their Medicaid programs; and eliminates more than $235 billion in taxes.
Specifically, the bill, according to Sen. Bill Cassidy (R.-La.):
- Repeals Obamacare Individual and Employer Mandates.
- Repeals the Obamacare Medical Device Tax.
- Strengthens the ability for states to waive Obamacare regulations.
- Returns power to the states and patients by equalizing the treatment between Medicaid Expansion and Non-expansion States through an equitable block grant distribution.
- Protects patients with pre-existing medical conditions.