A reporter asked nine Republican senators what healthcare issues they hope to fix with the Graham-Cassidy bill, and guess what? They don’t know and they don’t care.
That’s not what they said, of course. When Vox’s Jeff Stein asked about their last-ditch ACA repeal effort, they all gave some version of that tired old argument about how states do things better than the federal government. But if that’s the case, why are people in the states run by their party worse off by nearly every measure of health and quality of life? Republicans also tout Graham-Cassidy’s block grants. But as the Los Angeles Times wrote, block grants have a terrible track record and amount to little but budget cuts in disguise.
For many of us — as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told Vox when asked about her constituents — our main issues with the ACA revolve around high premiums, high deductibles, and high costs in general. Another problem is that 11.3 million people still have no access to healthcare. But the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says
But the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the Graham-Cassidy bill won’t solve these problems, it’ll make them worse. Their final figures won’t be out until next week, but things aren’t looking good. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) — a nonpartisan group — crunched some numbers and grimly states Graham-Cassidy will hike costs, leave millions uninsured, wreak havoc with the healthcare industry, and leave us at their mercy. Meanwhile, the Center for American Policy went over the bill and estimates the number of people who’d lose their health coverage is the same as for the GOP’s last repeal attempt: 32 million.
— Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) September 20, 2017
Nine Senate Republicans can’t explain how Graham-Cassidy would improve our healthcare system.
When Vox‘s Jeff Stein asked these nine GOP senators what problems Graham-Cassidy addresses, they offered no convincing arguments, just the usual blather about states being empowered to innovate. When Stein asked them how a 16 percent budget cut that scales up to a 34 percent cut over 10 years gives states more power or ability to come up short, they had nothing to say.
1. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Ks.): “If we do nothing, it has a tremendous impact on the 2018 elections,” he said. Apparently the Graham-Cassidy bill is all about pandering to the small minority of Americans who make up their base.
2. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.): “Efficiencies … can very well make up the difference” so states can deliver healthcare to their residents with 34 percent less funding. That’s another lie the GOP likes to tell. That we can cut taxes for the rich and still have the same public services and quality of life
3. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas): The Graham-Cassidy bill “lets states innovate and adopt creative solutions.” But as with his GOP colleagues, he offers no concrete ideas for how his state can deliver the same level of services with 34 percent less in funding.
It’s almost as if these GOP senators have no intention of ensuring their constituents have access to healthcare.
4. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.): “Read the bill and you’ll understand,” he said while not answering Jeff Stein’s very simple question. Stein probably has read it. As for Kennedy, that’s anyone’s guess.
5. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.): As is typical of so many Republicans, Shelby gives zero f*cks because he doesn’t think his state’s funding will be cut. “It wouldn’t cut Alabama, though,” he bluntly declared.
6. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.): Apparently, he hasn’t looked over the numbers and doesn’t plan to. “I don’t know what the numbers are going to end up looking like,” he scoffed.
7. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.): “The governors who decided to expand [Medicaid] knew that they were going to lose federal funding,” he sneered. Silly governors who actually care about the people in their state. Healthcare’s for people who work for corporations and for the rich.
8. Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala): “I like the idea of sending money back to the states and letting the states experiment.”
Because the state of Alabama does such a great job.
So, here's Alabama's health stats. We're striving for the top, baby pic.twitter.com/8kY1gHeuGW
— Josh Moon (@Josh_Moon) January 30, 2017
9. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “This is the last attempt to do what we promised in the election.” In other words, it’s all about pandering to a tiny, angry, mostly-white minority.
Featured image: CC BY SA 2.0, Gage Skidmore via Flickr.