- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Thursday floated an alternative to the contentious Republican bill designed to repeal and replace Obamacare.

In essence, the Republican wants give states the money they would normally receive under the 2010 law and let them decide what to do with it.

Mr. Graham said his idea would free states from the binds of Washington and let them divide up more than $100 billion in annual federal funding to pursue the type of health care system that fits their needs.

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“A state like Vermont has expressed interest in a state-government run and financed single-payer system like they have in Canada,” Mr. Graham said. “If they want to again continue down that path, they would be free to do so under this proposal. South Carolina, on the other hand, would likely go in a different direction and use the federal funding to make private health care more affordable and available.”

Mr. Graham said congressional Republicans could still repeal Obamacare’s mandate requiring individuals to hold insurance — and its rule requiring large employers to provide it — under special budget rules that lock out Democrats.

Yet he said states would still be required to cover customers with pre-existing conditions.

Federal spending on Medicaid coverage for the poor would grow with inflation, rather than being capped like the current GOP plan.

Mr. Graham said he worked on the proposal with Sen. Bill Cassidy, Louisiana Republican, though it’s unclear if he has much buy-in from either side of the aisle.

He announced his plan right before GOP senators met to discuss Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s revised plan to gut Obamacare and begin replacing it with Republican reforms.

The bill is expected to retain some of the 2010 law’s taxes to blunt premium costs and roll the dice with Sen. Ted Cruz’s plan to let insurers offer skimpier health plans to Americans who want them.

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