Once again, an Obamacare repeal effort is occupying Senate attention. For what might be the 71st time, Congressional Republicans are trying to gut President Obama’s efforts to reform health care.
First, there will be a huge redistribution of federal dollars to the state level. Second, states can waive many requirements.
Other details are still unclear. As usual, the Republicans have waited till the last minute to finalize the bill.
Obamacare Repeal Rush
One of the chief complaints of Senator John McCain against the last repeal try was the bypassing of the Senate’s “regular order.” Under this process, there would be public hearings, plenty of time for analyses and amendments, and at least token bipartisanship.
Congress had months to debate Obamacare. Senate Republicans added 160 amendments to the bill in committee.
On the other hand, there could be 90 seconds of debate on Graham-Cassidy in the House. There will be no opportunity to offer amendments through the relevant committees.
July 2009 kicked off the Obamacare legislative process. It took until March 2010 for Obama to sign the bill.
Obamacare Repeal Confusion
At this stage, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not scored Graham-Cassidy on its impact. Previous health-care reform efforts had CBO scores of the effects on coverage and deficits.
Thanks to the lack of CBO analysis and other unclear details, the bill’s impact is still confusing. Graham-Cassidy’s proponents have resorted to bluster and excuses to push the bill.
Late-night show host Jimmy Kimmel and Senator Cassidy have had exchanges about the bill. As I understand it, the two dispute the bill’s coverage of, and limits on coverage for, pre-existing conditions.
Cassidy’s defense is that states can decide on many insurance matters under their bill. Of course, that adds to the confusion.
Obamacare Repeal and Republican hypocrisy
But when it comes to health care, suddenly states are the magic laboratories for reform.
One of the most harmful aspects of Graham-Cassidy is the favoritism through the distribution of money to the states. Republican “red states” will get a lot more money than Democratic “blue states.”
Ironically, these Republican states who complain about the “gummint” are more dependent on the federal government. They want to hold their noses, and take the money.
In the end, it is not surprising that the Graham-Cassidy bill also stinks. It has Santorum in it.