Graham-Cassidy Doesn’t Pass the Sanity Test

As we head into the weekend, I thought it might be helpful to summarize where things stand on this last attempt to repeal Obamacare.

Since Republicans plan to vote on Graham-Cassidy prior to CBO having time to score it, the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy Project attempted to approximate their methods and arrived at these conclusions:

15 million fewer people with insurance in 2018 and 2019, versus current law;

21 million fewer insured by 2026;

32 million fewer Americans with coverage after 2026 if the funding provided in the Obamacare repeal bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) is not reauthorized by Congress.

Public Policy Polling asked this question in a national poll:

Right now the US Senate is considering another new health care plan known as the Graham-Cassidy bill, which would repeal the current health care law. Do you approve or disapprove of the Graham-Cassidy repeal and replace bill?

Only 24 percent of respondents support Graham-Cassidy. By comparison, 54 percent support the Affordable Care Act.

This is an astonishing admission from the White House:

One official said the concerns from governors have alarmed some in the White House — and that “we really aren’t sure what the impact will be” of passing the bill. They also fear that the bill could bring political blowback from the left and right.

Take a look at some of the quotes Paul Demko collected from conservative policy analysts and lobbyists:

Next week’s expiration of the rule allowing Republicans to pass a bill without any Democratic support has “concentrated Republican minds,” said Dean Clancy, a conservative health policy analyst who supports the plan. “This is their last chance to show they can govern on health care, and if they can’t govern on health care, what can they govern on?”

“They all hate health care,” said a GOP lobbyist on background. “They don’t know where to go on it. They just want to take a vote and be done with it.”…

“This is the last train out of the station,” said Joe Antos, a health policy analyst at the right-of-center American Enterprise Institute, who is critical of some parts of the measure. “If you’re not on it, what are the consequences?”

In other words, this isn’t about governing, it’s a war on Obamacare and “if it’s a lie, then we fight on that lie.”

We’ve known for a while now that the Republican Party isn’t really interested in governing. As long as that meant accomplishing nothing… so be it. But next week they are scheduled to vote on a bill that will strip health insurance from 20-30 million people and is supported by less that a quarter of Americans. In the process, they either don’t know what the bill will do or don’t care.

As I was writing this, the news broke that Sen. John McCain has issued a statement saying that he will not support Graham-Cassidy. That means that if Senators Collins and Paul remain opposed, it will fail.

But in a sane world,  a bill like this would never have been considered—and any party that attempted to do this would be shunned by the American people. Let’s rename Graham-Cassidy and start calling it “the sanity test.”

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.