Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview that he continues to work with Vice President Mike Pence and the White House on a revived Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill.
Graham rebuked Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) assertion that Republicans should move on from Obamacare repeal, calling it an “unpardonable sin.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted that “We’ll probably move on to other issues” after failing to repeal Obamacare on multiple occasions. Graham called it an “unpardonable sin” to not try as hard to repeal Obamacare as Democrats tried to pass it.
Graham told Breitbart News exclusively that he plans to revive the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare block-grant repeal legislation.
“Repealing the individual mandate takes away one of the pillars, but by no means does it repeal and replace Obamacare,” Sen. Graham told Breitbart News. “My goal for 2018 is to block grant the money for Obamacare back to the states and putting money in the hands of elected officials and not Washington bureaucrats.”
Graham elaborated, “I am more committed than ever to replacing Obamacare. I think it would be a huge mistake for a Republican to believe that we’re done with Obamacare. It is still the law of the land, it is still crumbling, driving up costs for hard-working America. It’s still the path to single-payer healthcare unless it’s replaced.”
Republicans came close to repealing Obamacare through the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare block-grant repeal legislation in September. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ron Dean Heller (R-NV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) quickly gained widespread support from Republicans in the weeks before the budgetary reconciliation deadline a few months ago. Now that Republicans have managed to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which would repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate, Sens. Graham and Cassidy hope to capitalize on that momentum to fully repeal and replace Obamacare in 2018.
Graham-Cassidy would repeal the Obamacare employer mandate, several Obamacare taxes, and block-grant money to the states so that conservative states can design a more free-market alternative to the Affordable Care Act. The Senate nearly obtained an electoral majority until Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) came out against the Obamacare repeal bill.
The block-grant Obamacare repeal legislation received endorsements from across the Republican political spectrum. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC), as well as over 15 Republican governors endorsed the Obamacare repeal bill. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) argued that the Obamacare repeal bill “would be presented as a solution outside of Washington.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called the bill, “a winner all the way around.”
Walker added, “What a perfect way to kickstart a true repeal and replace of Obamacare by sending it back to the states where we’re definitely more effective, more efficient, and more accountable to the people.”
Sen. Graham argues that Republicans have more time to fine-tune the bill and address concerns from lawmakers to gain a majority in both the House and the Senate.
“We got two no votes in the Senate based on process. Now we can go through the regular order similar to what we did with taxes. I think we will take up two votes.” Graham suggested. “Obamacare doesn’t get better over time, it gets worse. By repealing the mandate, we for sure own health care now. I think we can get 50 votes.”
Sen. Graham also suggested that although the individual mandate remains a significant part of the Obamacare repeal legislation, it does not serve as the “core” of Obamacare.
The South Carolina senator explained, “It was one of the pillars but by no means the core. Obamacare is still the law of the land. All of the exchanges are up and running, all of the increased costs still rise, all we did is prevent you from paying a fine if you don’t want one of the crappy choices you had under Obamacare. Millions are stuck with less coverage and more cost in spite of the individual mandate.”
Sen. Graham said that this “is the best way to stop single-payer. This is still socialism v. federalism. Not repealing Obamacare is locking in socialism.”
Lindsey Graham then revealed to Breitbart News that he continues to work with Vice President Mike Pence and the White House on crafting a new version of the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Obamacare repeal.
Graham told Breitbart News, “There’s a working group; Vice President Pence is integrally involved in this. We had a meeting two days ago; the White House is working with us on a new formula. The number one goal of the block grant is to make sure that everyone in every state gets basically the same contribution from the federal government.”
Graham then said that although he appreciates the help from the Senate Majority Leader, he hopes to receive the same commitment to repeal Obamacare in the new year.
“I appreciate the help Mitch gave us last year, even though we fell short. I hope and expect that same commitment in 2018,” Graham said.
Sen. Graham then suggested that the one Republican “unpardonable sin” is not to try their hardest to repeal Obamacare as Democrats did to pass the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s a sin to not to show the same passion with repealing Obamacare which they did to pass it. They voted on Christmas Eve to pass it,” Graham said.
Graham concluded, “The one unpardonable sin is not trying as hard to repeal and replace Obamacare as they did to pass it.”