Capitol Hill Report: A Hard Bill to Swallow

September 25, 2017

A Hard Bill to Swallow

The newest healthcare bill to gain momentum is known as the Graham-Cassidy bill. This is the Senate’s last-ditch effort before the budget expires on September 30. As much as we would like it to be an easy “yes”, there are many things to consider. Here are a few things the bill accomplishes:

  • Eliminates the individual and employer mandates
  • Eliminates Medicaid expansion
  • Redirects Planned Parenthood money to community health centers and retains language for no taxpayer funding of abortions with federal grant money
  • Allows for more contributions towards Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and allows for those funds to be used to pay insurance premiums
  • Allows states more responsibility to choose what is best for its residents

Eagle Forum has not yet taken a position on this bill. One of the issues that remains is the outrageous spending level that is carried over from Obamacare. The money would now go towards state block grants with each state receiving a specific amount. This is still federal funding with strings attached.  A new version of the bill introduced today allocates additional money to Maine, Alaska, and Kentucky in hopes of persuading Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to support.

There is also no guarantee that individuals will save money. The Congressional Budget Office is determining how much the bill will cost altogether, but will not have the figures in time for the vote. Even after the final numbers are reported, they may not be accurate. At this point, no one knows what each state will choose to do with these state block grants. This is a risky move for Republicans.

A full repeal would be ideal, but with the current dynamics of the Senate, it is highly unlikely. The Senate simply does not have enough votes to scrap Obamacare altogether.

Republicans are split, once again, on the bill. Several Conservative groups support the bill, some reluctantly. Sen. Paul (R-KY) has strongly voiced his opposition calling the bill “Obamacare lite.” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) recently made his opposition clear. Sen. Collins (R-ME), Sen. Murkowski (R-AJ), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are currently undecided.

Eagle Forum will continue to track the progress of this bill. We would like to see healthcare placed into the hands of individuals, not the federal government.