Republicans spent the past nine years promising conservative voters that majority control in Washington would mean an end to Obamacare whether Democrats like it or not. Now, after nearly more than five months of total DC control and total inaction on the Obamacare repeal, establishment Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says he’s working on a “new approach” to reforming the ailing healthcare law. His top priority, it seems, is producing something Democrats will like.
According to POLITICO, Graham revealed his new direction to Capitol Hill reporters on Tuesday.
“I’m working with some senators to come up with a new approach to deal with how to replace Obamacare,” Graham reportedly said. “I think it will be fundamentally different. I think it will potentially attract some Democrats.”
The lawmaker said the plan isn’t yet finalized, but should be made public by the end of the week.
We’re not there yet, but we’re working with governors, and we may be taking some of the critics of the current bill and converting them to supporters,” he said.
When Graham says “some of the critics of the current bill,” you can be sure that he isn’t referring to critics on the conservative side of the debate. That would include Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), both of whom say they aren’t interested in voting for any legislation that fails to deliver on the promised repeal of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.
Graham’s mention of working with governors on his healthcare proposal suggests that it will mirror current GOP legislation to rework Obamacare, just with more liberal concessions.
That’s because many GOP governors are against any Obamacare repeal that would cut Medicaid benefits available to participating states. The 16 Republican governors whose states opted in to Medicaid expansion under Obamacare would face a harsh reality following any actual repeal. That’s because the generous federal funding provided to put more residents on the healthcare dole while lowering standards for eligibility are firmly baked in to the already strapped budgets of many of these states. Now, those Republican governors are more in line with Democrats and left-leaning Republicans in Congress.
At the end of the day, this simply means conservative voices calling for an actual repeal are going to be pushed to the sidelines. Repeal Obamacare, it turns out, was nothing more than a highly effective campaign and fundraising mechanism for the vast majority of the GOP establishment.
GOP lawmakers just pushed their August recess back two weeks in an effort to accomplish something on healthcare. But don’t expect any breakthroughs that please conservative voters eager to get the federal government out of the healthcare business.
As establishment Republicans make clear they intend to cozy up to congressional Democrats to formulate a healthcare reform bill that can pass without conservative support, the Democratic Party is going to be pushed further to the left on the issue. For that, you can thank self-avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Democratic elected officials remain shaken by the hefty support Sanders garnered during the 2016 presidential primaries despite DNC efforts to undermine his campaign on behalf of inevitable Hillary Clinton. Now that he’s back to full-time focus on legislation, Sanders is preparing to use national interest in the healthcare overhaul debate to build voter support for a single-payer bill that matches the nationalized healthcare plan he presented on the presidential campaign trail. Democrats are going to be pushed to the left just as Republicans double down with claims that Obamacare repeal is impossible without total GOP support for the establishment plan. And, as we already see, GOP leaders are going to voters with the message that working with Democrats is now unavoidable because reform is better than allowing Obamacare to collapse.
In the end, conservatives get sold out once again. In fact, a betting man might wager that the result of all this legislative rigmarole will be a “new” healthcare scheme that is more expensive and less sustainable than the current system.
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