It’s a last ditch effort to decimate an Obamacare policy that simply needs fixing. Backers are banking on Americans being tired of the subject and whose attention is fixed on the fact that we broke the planet (hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes). But make no mistake. The latest Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is a disaster that would be tragic for the American people if it past.
The Graham-Cassidy bill appears to still be short of the 50 votes (plus Pence) to pass. But it is nonetheless dangerous that it’s getting close. Under Senate rules, they have until the end of the month to pass it with only the 50, after that it would take 60.
Let’s consider that under Graham-Cassidy:
• Millions would lose health insurance. Medicaid expansion would end.
• Planned Parenthood would be defunded. Regardless of what some may think of Planned Parenthood, for many it’s the only health services available particularly in rural areas. Defunding means no breast or cervical cancer screenings for women, no testicular cancer services for men.
• States could deny coverage for preexisting conditions. One of the most popular elements of Obamacare could be eliminated.
• We have no idea how many people would be affected or to what extent. There is no cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (by design from the plans backers) but it stands to reason that tens of millions will still lose coverage.
• States such as Maine and Alaska see their citizens lose coverage in droves. This should mean Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) should oppose it as they did the previous versions.
• What about John McCain? The Arizona Republican gave a dramatic thumbs-down to the “skinny version” of repeal. Will he support this one because of his friendship will Sen. Lindsay Graham?
• Key governors hate it (still). A group of 10 chief state executives signed a letter urging Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to not bring the latest bill out for a vote. They include Massachusetts Republican Charlie Baker, Alaska independent Bill Walker (who holds sway over Murkowski), Ohio Republican John Kasich, Vermont Republican Phil Scott and Nevada Republican Brian Sandoval.
It is the height of irresponsibility to vote on a measure that would rejigger one sixth of the US economy without knowing what it would do.
Republicans are once again urging a vote to repeal Obamacare just because they spent the last seven and a half years saying they would. That’s no reason to vote for a disastrous bill.