Like Lazarus, the Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare has risen from the dead. Pundits dutifully filled out the toe tag in July, after a repeal-and-replace bill failed to pass the Senate. Now comes new legislation championed by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, which just might get the 50 GOP votes needed for Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie and pass the bill.
Since leaders in the House have signaled they’re ready to approve Graham-Cassidy, Senate passage would clear the way to ending the individual and employer mandates, repealing the medical-device tax, and phasing out the ObamaCare exchanges and their highly prescriptive regulations.
The Graham-Cassidy bill would give states as a block grant the money now spent on ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, its tax credits on the exchanges, and its cost-sharing and premium-support payments to insurers. States then could use those dollars on health-care initiatives devised by legislatures and governors that would meet the needs of their low-income residents.
Rather than operating under ObamaCare’s top-down model, states could choose different ideas in an explosion of federalism. Some might provide low-cost plans for young people or catastrophic-care policies. Others might expand health savings accounts or institute more-sensible regulations. Liberal states could even duplicate the ObamaCare exchanges, if they want to implement a failed model. In any case, states would have to continue to provide some form of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.