Muftic: A wolf in state’s right’s clothing |

Muftic: A wolf in state’s right’s clothing

Felicia Muftic
My View
Felicia Muftic
Courtesy Photo |

GOP Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy are jamming through a bill that is a wolf in states rights clothing designed to get all red states’ people to support it by taking federal funds from blue states and giving them to red states such as Sen. John McCain’s Arizona. It was his vote that sank the prior bill.

If this sneaky, cynical strategy works, the two senators have an excellent chance of repealing and replacing Obamacare with a plan similar to the unpopular one that failed earlier that would have left millions without health insurance. Graham/Cassidy will eat alive your ability to buy affordable health insurance through the exchanges,and eventually cripple Medicaid. Alarm bells are ringing but media and democrats are so focused on the Russian connection issue and DACA, they are taking little notice.

To beat the Sept. 30 deadline to pass bills through the budget reconciliation process, the Graham/Cassidy bill is being quickly stepped through the Senate. Budget reconciliation permits the Senate to pass repeal-replace Obamacare legislation with 51 instead of 60 Senate votes that would need some democrats to join in.

That a large number of Democratic senators have signed on to Bernie Sanders’s single payer Medicare for All is significant. While it has no chance of gaining 60 votes to pass, it is now a serious alternative that is on the table and closer to becoming a Democratic party platform plank in the near future. The more GOP legislation takes affordable health insurance away from those who need and want it, the more the public feels the pain in their family finances, the more likely they will turn to single payer.

Graham/Cassidy has never gained much traction until now. It has been on the Senate table during the summer so that it has had some scrutiny. While its impact has never been “scored” by the Congressional Budget Office and we will get their report before the vote, other green eye shade authoritative non-profit groups did. Digging into it the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that the Graham-Cassidy plan would eliminate premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions that help moderate-income marketplace consumers afford coverage and care; States apparently could use these funds for a broad range of health care purposes, not just coverage, with essentially no guardrails or standards to ensure affordable, meaningful coverage, including coverage of pre-existing conditions; and convert virtually the entire Medicaid program to a per capita cap, with large and growing cuts to federal funding for seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children.

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