Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy on Wednesday released a last-ditch health-care bill that aims to replace Obamacare’s architecture with a block grant given annually to states to defray individuals’ insurance costs.
“Our bill takes money and power out of Washington and gives it back to patients and states,” Graham said in a press release. “It takes us off the path to single-payer health care—which would be a disaster—and puts us on a path toward local control.”
The proposal, which Dean Heller and Ron Johnson also sponsored, comes months after Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare sputtered out in July, and weeks before the Sept. 30 deadline to pass a health-care bill with 50 votes through the budget reconciliation process.
The bill would eliminate Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates and repeal its tax credits and cost-sharing reduction subsidies, as well as its scheduled Medicare expansion.
The sponsors have characterized their package, released the same day as Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for All” proposal, as the last line of defense against such radical single-payer plans. Graham on Wednesday said that single-payer is “inevitable” if Republicans can’t repeal Obamacare.
But GOP leadership shows no signs of wanting to return to the topic of health care this fall. Sen. John Thune said Tuesday that passing the bill would take an “extraordinary lift,” while McConnell simply said that the “way forward is not clear.”
An editorial in the current issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD points out:
At this point, the question for Republicans isn’t whether there is a better alternative to Graham-Cassidy, but whether this plan is an improvement on the status quo. Holding out past September 30 doesn’t create leverage for a better bill, it simply turns the bill to dust.
This post originally appeared on Weekly Standard