Lindsey Graham: House Health Care Bill Is ‘Mortally Wounded’

Bill Clark/CQPHO

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday said the Republican proposal to replace Obamacare was “mortally wounded,” and that he would tell President Donald Trump to pursue letting Obamacare collapse and starting over with a new bill.

In an appearance on NBC’s “Today,” Graham was asked whether House Republicans’ health care bill was “dead on arrival.”

“It is mortally wounded, I don’t know if it’s died yet,” Graham replied. “Rand Paul will not vote for the House bill, because he believes refundable tax credits is an entitlement in another form. My state did not take Medicaid expansion. The House bill allows open enrollment for the entire country all the way through 2019 for Medicaid, which is fundamentally broken. I don’t like that. This is the last best chance for Republicans to pass health care by themselves and screw it up.”

Graham said that he would advise Trump to “try to get a good bill,” but that, if he can’t, to keep Obamacare as law, and wait for what Graham described as its eventual collapse.

“Let Obamacare collapse and challenge the Democrats to help him fix a problem they created,” he said.

“We’re trying to do too much too quick as Republicans. We’re running through stop signs like the CBO letter,” he added later.

Graham noted that it was “a fantasy in the Senate” that something like a bill to buy insurance across state lines — which proponents of the current bill say is part of “phase three” of health reform, to come in the future — would get 60 votes in the Senate

“Slow down, get it right,” he said.


On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday, Graham had similar advice for the Trump administration

“Here’s what I would tell the President,” Graham said. “If you can’t get a better deal and if you can’t protect that 62-year-old worker in Greenville from having dramatic premium increases because Democrats won’t work with you and you can’t get the Republican Party on board, stop, take a time-out, let it collapse then turn to the Democrats and say, ‘This was the system you created. It has collapsed now help me replace it,’ and that is what I would do.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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