As time runs out for the Republicans to keep their longtime campaign pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare, Democratic Senators rallied a small group of constituents outside of the capitol on Tuesday to oppose the Graham-Cassidy legislation that could be voted on by the Senate and the House by the end of the month.
The health care rally, sponsored by the George Soros-backed moveon.org and supported by Planned Parenthood and other left-wing groups, featured Senate leaders who said, if the bill becomes law, it will result in American deaths.
“People will die,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) said at the rally.
“Thousands of people a year will die if that legislation becomes law,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said, calling the people at the rally, “brothers and sisters,” and describing the health care debate a “profound moral issue.”
“The bill proposes replacing Obamacare with a system that would give states money in block grants to run their own healthcare programs and let them opt out of some Obamacare rules,” Reuters reported, adding that the legislation has less than two weeks before procedural rules in the Senate make it much more difficult for the Republicans to put an end to Obamacare.
“It’s worse than any version they brought before,” Sen Dick Durbin (D-Ill) said at the rally. “It’s terrible. It’s meaner.”
Durbin noted that half of the children in his state who are “brought into this world” are dependent on the federal Medicaid entitlement program.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) praised moveon.org and Planned Parenthood but slammed the GOP health plan proposal as “evil.”
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the legislation “an intriguing idea and one that has a great deal of support” and said on the Senate floor on Tuesday that lawmakers should act because “our opportunity to do so may well pass us by if we don’t act soon.”
“McConnell stopped short of promising to bring the legislation to the Senate floor. But he said Republican lawmakers would continue to discuss it,” Reuters reported.
According to Sen. Bill Cassidy’s (R-LA) website, the plan, also crafted by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dean Heller (R-NV), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, the GCHJ plan:
•Repeals Obamacare Individual and Employer Mandates.
•Repeals the Obamacare Medical Device Tax.
•Strengthens the ability for states to waive Obamacare regulations.
•Returns power to the states and patients by equalizing the treatment between Medicaid Expansion and non-expansion states through an equitable block grant distribution.
•Protects patients with pre-existing medical conditions.
Democrats at the rally said the GOP would take away pre-existing medical condition protections.
“GCHJ also eliminates the inequity of four states receiving 37 percent of Obamacare funds and brings all states to funding parity by 2026,” Cassidy’s website states. “As an example, Pennsylvania has nearly double the population of Massachusetts, but receives 58 percent less Obamacare money than Massachusetts.”
President Donald Trump has said he will sign the Graham-Cassidy bill if the legislation to repeal Obamacare makes it to his desk, an administration official told CNN.