Like the Better Care Reconciliation Act, Graham-Cassidy would repeal Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates. Both bills increase annual contributions to health savings accounts. Both bills phase down state-based Medicaid provider taxes that states use to game the federal government into giving them more money than they’re supposed to get. Both bills allow states the ability to frequently cull their Medicaid rolls of ineligible recipients—something they can’t do today.

The bill would institute a per-capita allotment for the legacy Medicaid program that is quite similar to the one in the BCRA. This per-capita approach is essential to ensuring that Medicaid is fiscally sustainable in the future. Both bills allow states to institute work requirements for Medicaid.

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Graham-Cassidy is less ambitious than the Senate’s ObamaCare replacement that failed over the summer, and we could go on at length about its limitations. But the proposal at least takes most decision-making out of Washington and puts a spending cap on Medicaid and ObamaCare. The question for Members is: What is the alternative? The budget procedure that allows the Senate to address the law with a 51-vote majority expires on Sept. 30. ObamaCare’s exchanges will continue to deteriorate, and Democrats will blame Republicans for every premium increase from here to November 2018. The law will require who knows how many patches and bailouts in coming years, and consumers will continue to face higher prices and fewer choices.
. . .

Two Republican senators are launching yet another attempt at repealing Obamacare, preparing to offer legislation that would try to bridge one of the key dividing elements of an effort that has twice failed to pass the senate, according to a section-by-section analysis obtained by NBC News.

It’s too early to gauge whether or not the approach could muster enough support to pass either the Senate or the House, or even if GOP leadership would take it up, but it’s a last-ditch effort by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Friday said that some of the essential health benefits that had been set up under Obamacare were too limiting to customers, proposing that someone have the option to buy a plan that excludes maternity coverage while explaining his decision to mandate autism coverage in his state.

Kasich, a Republican, was appearing in a panel in Washington alongside Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat with whom he has been working on an Obamacare stabilization plan to lower the costs of premiums and give customers more choices for health insurance plans.

. . .

“While most reasonable people would welcome a bipartisan outcome to the Obamacare mess, the solutions proffered thus far would do little more than shore up the bad policies already in place with another slate of bad policies. We need legitimate, long-term reforms,” argues Sen. Hatch. “Case in point: Some are working on an approach that amounts to little more than a congressional bailout of Obamacare, including pumping tens of billions of dollars into the already failing system in the form of cost-sharing reduction payments and reenacting a temporary reinsurance program included in Obamacare that has expired.”

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The Cassidy-Graham bill would repeal the ACA’s tax credits for middle-income Americans, the cost-sharing reduction subsides for low-income Americans, and the Medicaid expansion in 2020. It replaces all those programs with a market-based health care grant program, which would send states a lump sum of money to put toward health care–related purposes. Under Cassidy-Graham, this money could be spent on funding high-risk pools, sending payments to insurers to “stabilize premiums and promote State health insurance market participation, or making payments directly to health care providers, like doctors and hospitals.

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The Trump administration and Republican leaders in Congress are pledging to turn their attention toward tax reform after their failure to pass a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. But Republicans can still improve health care and lower costs if they change the treatment of employer-sponsored health insurance plans in tax reform.

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Major bipartisan accomplishments in federal policy feel like a rarity these days. But it was just over 20 years ago that the parties came together to pass significant, positive reforms to our nation’s cash assistance program for families in poverty. The 1996 welfare-reform law, passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton, significantly strengthened work requirements in a new program, now known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). In the years following the law’s enactment, child-poverty rates dropped significantly and employment among poor mothers increased, while teen pregnancy and abortion rates continued to fall. Policies that encouraged work succeeded in achieving the intended, positive result: fewer Americans in poverty and more Americans providing for themselves.
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Despite the setbacks of the past eight months, including the inability of Republicans to agree on a single alternative to the ACA, it is still not too late for this Congress to pass health care reform legislation.

At this point in the Obama administration’s first term, the ACA hadn’t been passed – not even out of committee – and Democrats weren’t the least bit united either. That had, and that point in time, three separate bills – quite different from each other – going through different House committees, and three additional very different bills going through three different Senate committees. In addition, there were numerous other proposals introduced by various Democrats, which had been sidelined by their own leadership.

. . .

While Republicans were trying and failing to repeal Obamacare, Democrats in Congress were quietly lining up behind a single-payer health plan that, as written, would fundamentally reshape American health care for every single person in the country.

That plan has now gained the backing of 60 percent of House Democrats, the most support a single-payer plan has ever enjoyed in Congress, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is planning a national campaign for a similar proposal in early September.

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