Trump backs Obamacare overhaul
GOP plan would let states create their own health plans
USA TODAY WASHINGTON President Donald Trump threw his support Wednesday behind a last-ditch effort by two Republican senators to replace parts of the Affordable Care Act.
In a statement, Trump applauded Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana for working “toward a solution to relieve the disastrous Obamacare burden on the American people.”
Graham and Cassidy, along with Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., are proposing legislation that would keep some of the Affordable Care Act’s regulations and taxes in place while providing states with block grants and authority to design their own health insurance systems.
The senators say that if states want to keep current programs, they can, and if they want to repeal and create a new system, they can do that.
Trump’s endorsement could give momentum to the Graham/Cassidy legislation and complicate a separate bipartisan effort under way to provide a short-term fix to stabilize the individual health insurance market.
The bipartisan push is led by Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, and the panel’s top Democrat, Murray of Patty Washington.
The committee is scheduled Thursday to hold the last of four hearings that have focused on ways to help bring down rates for millions of Americans who buy their insurance on one of the marketplaces created under Obamacare.
Alexander has said he hopes to have legislation ready by early next week.
The bill is expected to extend for at least another year the federal cost-share that enables insurers to provide affordable coverage for low- and moderate-income families.
It also is likely to focus on improving Obamacare’s waiver process so that states will have more flexibility to design and regulate insurance plans.
Conservatives say the Graham/Cassidy legislation, unveiled Wednesday, doesn’t go far enough. “It would not actually deliver on the Republicans’ seven-year campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare,” said Michael A. Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America.