Speaking at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) discussed his bill to repeal Obamacare, which is quickly gaining momentum. In his remarks, Graham admitted that his strategy was largely based on redistributing large sums of money from large Democratic-led states like California, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland to states that are more Republican.
In other words, Graham is attempting to purchase GOP votes by pitting Americans against each other — and explicitly working against the interests of more than 60 million people, the combined population of California, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland.
“If you’re a Republican and you vote against [this bill], you got to explain to people back home why Washington knows better and almost every state except the four I have described do very well under this new approach to taking the money out of Washington,” Graham said. “I really believe we’re gonna get 50 Republican votes.”
Graham also has his facts wrong.
A Center for Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of his legislation, known as the Graham-Cassidy bill, found that 20 states would face funding cuts of at least 35 percent by 2026. This would include the blue states he mentioned — but it would also include Republican strongholds like Alaska (-$255 million), Louisiana (-$3.2 billion), Kentucky (-$3.1 billion), Montana (-$515 million) and North Dakota (-$211 million).
Graham-Cassidy replaces Obamacare with a continually shrinking block grant to states. After 2026, the block grant goes away entirely, resulting in even more cuts. Republicans plan on forcing a vote on the legislation before the plan can be scored by the Congressional Budget Office, so it’s difficult to estimate the ultimate impact of these provisions. But previous bills that zeroed out Obamacare funding were estimated to result in coverage losses for 32 million people — and Graham-Cassidy goes even further, cutting Medicaid spending beyond the elimination of its expansion under Obamacare.
Graham-Cassidy would also repeal nearly all Obamacare regulations that protect consumers, including protections for people with preexisting provisions. Under Graham-Cassidy, insurers would be allowed to jack up prices as soon as you get sick. Someone who is diagnosed with cancer could face “surcharge” of $140,000.