The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Graham-Cassidy is Far Superior to Obamacare

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) introduced a replacement plan for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, on September 13, 2017.  The Graham-Cassidy bill is expected to be considered on the floor of the Senate next week.  As it gains support across the conservative spectrum, ACA supporters are getting very worried.

President Obama expressed his frustration in a speech before the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation.  He said ACA was wonderful and improved healthcare in the U.S., and he was aggravated that Republicans were trying to undo Obamacare for the “50th or 60th time.”

 Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) pinned a Red Alert to his twitter account declaring, “#Trumpcare is back & Senate GOP has until Sept 30 to pass their bill.  We need your voices more than ever!”

The left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a September 20 report on how bad Graham-Cassidy would be if it should be signed into law.  Echoing the Ghostbusters iconic scene of impending doom that would result in “mass hysteria,” a “disaster of Biblical proportions,” and, worst of all, “dogs and cats living together,” CBPP will continue to produce absurd panic-stricken headlines into next week.  Be prepared for the more of the following:  “Like Other ACA Repeal Bills, Cassidy-Graham Plan Would Add Millions to Uninsured, Destabilize Individual Market,” or “Senate’s Cassidy-Graham Focus Jeopardizing Health Coverage for Millions of Children,” and “Like Prior Repeal Bills, Cassidy-Graham Puts Coverage for American Indians, Alaska Natives at Risk.”  It will all be repeated and regurgitated ad infinitum by the liberal press, numerous organizations that favor big-government solutions for all things healthcare, and Democratic senators and representatives.  Be very wary of their hysterical warnings.

CBPP uses Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasts for many of its reports on the “utopian” healthcare world Obamacare has created.  But, CBO’s scoring has often been wrong.  For example, CBO has been consistently off base on predicting Obamacare enrollments.  In 2012, CBO predicted that 25 million would be covered under Obamacare in 2017; only 10.3 million were enrolled by June 2017.  They have erroneously continued to predict that ACA enrollment would suddenly increase year after year, yet sign-ups have hovered around 10 million each year.

Relying on CBO data, CBPP lashed out at state governors and attorneys general who commissioned studies questioning Medicaid expansion costs.  After all, CBPP argued, expanding Medicaid would be great because it would cost states very little, and enabled abled-bodied, non-pregnant adults without dependent children with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level to receive “free” health insurance.

CBO had predicted Medicaid costs would only increase by 1.25 percent; and CBPP suggested that the states should not refuse having the federal government paying up to 90 percent of Medicaid expansion costs by 2020.  Contrary to CBO’s original prediction and CBPP’s cheerleading, Medicaid enrollment and the cost per enrollee was about 50 percent higher than expected in 2015.

Everyone remembers the false promise that Obamacare would reduce family premium costs by about $2,500 a year.  Premium costs have instead steadily increased and are expected to go up on average by 18 percent for 2018.  In early September, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projected that 63 counties will have no insurers participating in Obamacare Exchanges, and that 45 percent of counties nationwide will only have one insurer.  Many large insurance companies have stated publicly they will not participate in numerous state exchanges next year.

Graham-Cassidy is not Gozer the Gozerian, Vigo the Carpathian, or the devil incarnate, as CBPP would have you believe.  The bill would block grant Obamacare’s funding, and sends $1.2 trillion over seven years to the states in an equitable manner.  The states would once again be allowed to regulate health insurance and use the funds in a way that best benefits their citizens.  If state officials like Obamacare’s mandates, they can keep them.  If a governor and state legislature believe they have better ideas to increase competition and lower costs, they can implement them.  The bill repeals the individual and employer mandates that have forced citizens to purchase insurance they do not want and have stifled the economy.

Sen. Cassidy, a medical doctor, has been given the credit for taking the lead on crafting the legislation.  As the shrill, negative attacks against Graham-Cassidy reach a crescendo in the next week, opponents of the bill and those who spread their propaganda should recognize that Doctor Cassidy spent 30 years providing care to the uninsured and under insured in Louisiana’s charity hospital system, which includes teaching medical students at Earl K. Long hospital that administers to those without health insurance.  This is a man who understands what it means to serve and what is needed to make the healthcare system more responsive to the people.  The bill he has put together with his colleagues is far superior to Obamacare.

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