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Exclusive—Rick Santorum on Graham-Cassidy: ‘It’s a Choice Between Local Health Care or Berniecare’

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum told Breitbart News that Americans will have a choice next week between local health through the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill or the single-payer health care scheme proposed by Bernie Sanders.

Rick Santorum first revealed in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News about his Republican coalition’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare through block grants in August. Since then, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence endorsed the bill and continued to call governors and senators to support the bill. Fifteen Republican governors wrote to in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging him to pass the bill through the upper chamber. Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy support the proposal. House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows endorsed the bill and said that the bill has “real merit.”

Now, Sen. Lindsey Graham reported that they almost have the votes for the Obamacare repeal bill to pass through the Senate.

Santorum explained why this idea has continued to gain momentum in Congress and amongst many Republican governors. Santorum said, “It’s a good idea. If this wasn’t a good idea then it would not get support from either moderates or conservatives. This is an idea that 20 years ago got 74 votes in the United States Senate for block granting a federal entitlement to the states and providing them with the resources and flexibility to do the job. This is an idea that works and creates better outcomes and far better than an open-ended entitlement.”

Sen. Santorum fired back at conservatives that do not want to support Graham-Cassidy for not repealing enough of Obamacare. Santorum charged:

I lay it out, it’s very simple. The idea that you have to repeal every part of Obamacare well that’s ridiculous. We ended welfare as we know it and we didn’t tear out every part of welfare. It’s just silly to repeal every of aspect of Obamacare.

What we did in Obamacare. What is Obamacare? Medicaid expansion, providing money to expand Medicaid and tax credits and payments to insurance companies to help people who are lower-income not Medicaid population, a one-size fits all policy both of which have to be run by the federal government. All of which I’ve just described along with the individual and employer mandate that’s Obamacare. everything I just said is repealed. What else not repealed?

We just kept some of the resources to do it in a way that’s consistent with conservative values, which is exactly what we did with welfare reform.

Santorum added, “There’s also other things we can do. This is a starting point. The point is that we don’t get this started now we’re going to be stuck with this for a long time. This is really an opportunity to get the ball rolling.”

Congress does not have to stop at repealing Obamacare after Graham-Cassidy. In future legislation, Republicans can choose to give states more flexibility to states to waive costly Obamacare insurance regulations.

Santorum discussed the stark contrast between Sens. Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Dean Heller, and Ron Johnson state-centric Obamacare repeal plan and Sen. Bernie Sanders’s federal, single-payer healthcare scheme. Both plans were unveiled on the same day last week. Santorum said:

There’s no such thing as a coincidence. What you’re going to see next week in the United States Senate is a choice, it’s a choice between local health care or Berniecare. It’s a choice between whether we’re going to get resources and health care at the local level and have folks that are responsive for those patients and single-payer health care that they can’t even pay for.

Those are your two options. Bernie Sanders and the Democrats basically admitted that Obamacare is a failure, why would they do this if Obamacare was succeeding? Well there’s 25 to 30 million people that still have no coverage after we were promised by Obama that we were going to get everyone coverage and we’re spending billions of dollars trying to do it.

During the 2012 campaign I said that Obamacare was designed to fail so we could go to single-payer. Your options right now are not to continue Obamacare, it’s either a federally run single-payer health care or health care that emphasizes innovation and quality at the local level.

Sen. Santorum told Breitbart News that passing Graham-Cassidy will not be the end of the conversation of repealing Obamacare and that Congress will take more actions to stabilize the health care system until the Graham-Cassidy state-based system starts in 2020. Santorum explained, “If this succeeds. Then you will see the Republicans work with the administration and the Democrats to bridge where we are now which is a mess to how get to 2020 with a new system. If you’re a moderate Republican who’s concerned about stabilizing the system then vote for this bill because if this bill passes now everyone on the Republican side and the President have a stake in stabilizing the system until 2020.”

Santorum suggested that America should adopt a more federalist approach to other issues outside of health care for issues such as housing and infrastructure.

Santorum charged, “I think we should apply this to infrastructure, apply this to food stamps, and housing. I mean, the idea that the federal government is doing all these things that are essentially state functions is ridiculous. We need to get back to what the federal government should be doing which is to provide for common defense and focus its efforts on issues and problems that cannot be solved on the local level.”

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