Lindsey Graham on health care: 'We should be politically horsewhipped if we don't try this again'

Sen. Lindsey Graham tells Fox News the Republicans deserve to be “politically horsewhipped” if they don't try again to repeal and replace ObamaCare -- and on Monday he revealed details of his new plan.

Despite rocky results in the Senate last week, Graham, R-S.C., is urging the Senate to continuing working on alternatives.

Speaking to Dana Perino on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” on Monday night, Graham advocated for his own alternative: a plan that he has assembled with Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy.

Under the Graham-Cassidy plan, federal dollars spent on Obamacare would be block-granted to states. Additionally, the individual and employer mandate would be repealed; requirements that health insurers would cover pre-existing conditions would be kept; and the ObamaCare medical device tax would be cut. Other ObamaCare taxes would remain.


“I am, like, 1,000 percent with Donald Trump on this,” Graham said. “We should be politically horsewhipped if we don’t try again. The best idea we haven’t even brought up. Take all the money under ObamaCare and block-grant it back to the states,” he said.

“That ends single-payer health care. The government closest to the people is the best government. The health care closest to the people is the best health care. We had Republican governors up in the White House today… we look to Washington to fix ObamaCare, we should’ve looked to the governors.”

“I’m excited about Graham-Cassidy, which empowers governors,” Graham said. “Four states under ObamaCare get 40 percent of the money: New York, California, Massachusetts and Maryland. My goal is to make sure that if you live in South Carolina you get the same amount of money from the federal government as you would if you lived in California with more flexibility. It’ll put Democrats in a box. It will make health care more accessible to you. If you don’t like what’s going on, you complain to your governor or your statehouse guy, rather than a bureaucrat in Washington. I’m so excited about this. Mr. President, don’t let us quit! Make us keep trying. I think we can pass this bill to block grant the money back to the states.”

Whether Graham’s legislation would make it to a vote wasn’t exactly clear but the senator said he remained hopeful.


“If we took a really principled position on health care, that we should send the money back home, closest to the patient, and had hearings and votes in the normal course of business, then we could get this done,” Graham said.

“West Virginia, under my approach, gets 43 percent more money than under ObamaCare with more flexibility,” he explained. “So the bottom line is, by 2026, we want to make sure that every state gets the same block granting. And Mr. President, you make sure that we try this before we say we failed. We haven’t even begun to fight yet.”

Asked to discuss a recent White House shake-up that saw Anthony Scaramucci ousted as the White House Communications Director on Monday, Graham deflected. “None of this matters if we’re successful,” he said. “If we fail on health care I don’t care who he hires.”

A couple of Democratic proposals for health care changes have emerged.

Under one by Sens. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Tom Carper of Delaware, the federal government would help pay larger than expected claims for insurers providing coverage on the federal and state online marketplaces established by Obama's law.

Another by Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri would let people in counties where no insurers offer policies on exchanges buy the same coverage that members of Congress purchase. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated last week that exchanges would offer no coverage next year in 40 of the country's roughly 3,000 counties.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.