It's getting real. At a press conference today, Senate GOP leadership joined Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy to tout their eleventh-hour Obamacare replacement plan, which would send block-granted money and a great deal of healthcare authority back to the states. In a significant statement, Graham told reporters that House Speaker Paul Ryan pledged to him that if the Senate passes the legislation, the House will follow suit -- but that the House will not take up a bill that merely props up Obamacare with more bailout-style money, which is the "compromise" sought by Democrats. Graham said that a preliminary CBO score is expected next week, and a hearing is slated for Monday. Republicans have until Friday to approve an Obamacare alternative with a simple majority under "reconciliation." In a sign of how serious this final push has become, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a floor speech slamming the reckless pipe dream of BernieCare and praising Graham-Cassidy:
"Last week, our colleague from Vermont rolled out health-care legislation that would quadruple down on the failures of Obamacare. It envisions what is basically a fully government-run ‘single-payer’ system — the kind of system that would strip so many Americans of their health plans and take away so many decisions over their own health-care, that would require almost-unimaginably high tax increases, and that already collapsed in the Senator’s home state when Vermont tried to implement it...We don’t have to accept it as our future. That’s certainly what Senators Graham and Cassidy believe.
They rolled out a health-care proposal of their own last week. It would repeal the pillars of Obamacare and replace that failed law’s failed approach with a new one: allowing states and governors to actually implement better health-care ideas by taking more decision-making power out of Washington. Governors and state legislators of both parties would have both the opportunity and the responsibility to help make quality and affordable healthcare available to their citizens in a way that works for their own particular states...I’d like to thank Senator Graham and Senator Cassidy for all of their hard work. They know how important it is to move beyond the failures of Obamacare. They know that our opportunity to do so may well pass us by if we don’t act soon.”
That's not exactly a full-throated endorsement, but it aligns with previous reports that McConnell has committed to calling a vote if the bill's sponsors can wrangle 50 ayes. The Trump administration, well aware that the legislative clock is running out, is throwing its full weight behind the proposal. In an email blast, the White House quoted the Vice President describing himself and the president as "all in" for Graham-Cassidy, and noted that Trump spoke with Graham last night to encourage him in this pursuit:
WH email: Trump, Pence "all in" on Graham-Cassidy, POTUS phoned Graham last night. pic.twitter.com/q2fqp1hDk9— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 19, 2017
At this afternoon's gaggle, Graham said he's spoken to Trump five times in the past two days on this subject. Meanwhile, Pence is back on the Hill, pressing Senators to support the legislation. If Rand Paul is still a 'no' -- which John McCormack describes as an inexplicable stance, given the Kentuckian's previous positions -- Republicans can only afford one more defection. Susan Collins sounds like a no, while Lisa Murkowski (whose home state governor is being lobbied on this idea) and John McCain (whose home state governor has embraced it) are maybes. In other words, no real movement to speak of:
AFTER THE GOP MEETING on Graham-Cassidy: Spoke to McCain, Collins and Murkowski; no shift in any of their positioning since yesterday.— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) September 19, 2017
The credibility-challenged Democratic Left is doing its fear-mongering hyperventilation thing, framing anything other than an expansion of the status quo as "extreme" and mean-spirited. But the status quo, for which they are entirely responsible, is failing, harming millions, and getting worse. They lied us into the current collapsing and unaffordable system, and their only solutions involve more government spending and more government control. I'll leave you with this bipartisan critique of government-run healthcare, augmenting some of the points we made in this post:
Dems '10: "If you like your plan, you can keep it!"— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 19, 2017
Dems '17: "If you like your plan, we'll make it illegal & massively raise your taxes."
But it's Graham-Cassidy that's radical, you see.