The new effort led by former Sen. Rick Santorum could revive the prospect of repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Breitbart News released an exclusive interview with Santorum on his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare by block granting the Affordable Care Act to the states, allowing local governments to create healthcare systems that work best for the local populations. Santorum’s plan, sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Dean Heller (R-NV), would also eliminate Obamacare’s individual and employer mandate.
Adam Slavitt, Obama Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) administrator, said that the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill remains “the most significant threat to repeal ACA. Trump is bullying the Senate to take it up.”
Sen. Rick Santorum told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview that the Graham-Cassidy bill idea would “put a stake in the heart of single-payer health care.”
“Now that every state will have their own healthcare system, no way will the government be able to take it back,” Santorum added.
Santorum contends that if America were to pass this bill to block grant Obamacare to the states, it would prevent Democrats from trying to pass a national, single-payer healthcare scheme because California could keep Obamacare while more conservative states, such as Texas, could have a more free-market alternative.
Former Sen. Santorum argued that by creating competition among the states, states could experiment and find the best solution for health care. Santorum pointed to the increased competition after Republicans passed welfare reform in 1996, where many states copied former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s innovative welfare reforms.
“Well, that’s what happened if you look at what happened with welfare, you saw that Tommy Thompson did incredibly innovative things with welfare, and mostly other states copied that,” Santorum said.
Santorum explained to Breitbart News that this local experimentation could allow states to take innovative approaches that work best for their state. He said, “That’s the idea, is to give everybody in America the same amount of money for their population and let every state design their own program. I want this be very clear: this is not a Medicaid expansion. Now, having said that, if California simply wants to expand Medicaid with this money, good luck. They’re going to have to cut their program dramatically because they don’t have the money with what they’re funding now. But if they want to take that money and create high-risk pools, HSAs, they have flexibility to do anything.”
Santorum also said he will continue to work with Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) on allowing states to reform Obamacare regulations. Sens. Lee and Cruz sponsored a “Consumer Freedom Amendment” for the Senate leadership’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) that would allow health insurers to offer plans that do not comply with Obamacare insurance regulations, such as community ratings and essential health benefits, as long as they also offer plans that do comply with the rules.
A McKinsey and Co. report found that the Consumer Freedom Amendment could lower Obamacare-compliant plans for a 40-year-old as much as 30 percent, and premiums for non-Obamacare compliant plans could be 77 percent lower compared to Obamacare plans. McKinsey also reported that Obamacare insurance regulations, such as community ratings and guaranteed issue, were the primary drive for the spike in insurance premiums since Obamacare became law.
Sen. Heller claimed that his healthcare plan remains the most feasible solution to repealing Obamacare and would help states solve their local healthcare problems.
“By allowing states to address the unique health-care needs of their populations, it gives states the flexibility to innovate and come up with a tailored approach that is most appropriate for their citizens,” Heller said.
Santorum told Breitbart News, “In short, this is the last chance for a healthcare bill to pass, and this is the best idea that’s been floated yet.”