September 21, 2017

Graham-Cassidy Can Turn Obamacare’s Failure into an American Success

Washington has made a mess of our healthcare system. If someone had tried to design a system to fail, they couldn't have done better than the Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare."

Cancelled insurance policies, soaring premiums, sky-high deductibles, wasteful and confusing mandates and uncertain coverage — these are the earmarks of a disaster. And that's just the beginning.

Next year, Obamacare premiums are expected to rise an average of 15 percent. Nearly half the counties in America will have only one insurance company. So much for "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it."

The truth is, Obamacare was bound to fail. A one-size-fits-all solution created by the central planning mentality of the District of Columbia is madness. Not even the Europeans are crazy enough to create an EU-wide healthcare system. The federal government is utterly incapable of managing a system that serves current insurance policyholders, let alone all 330 million Americans.

There is a solution available right now. Legislation sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., will let states take control of health care regulation. It will give states the power and flexibility to design their own healthcare systems. They would be able to craft customized solutions tailored to the real-world needs of their citizens rather than trying to fit into a one-size-fits-all straightjacket made in Washington.

Each state would receive an annual lump sum payment based on the amount the federal government has historically spent on healthcare in that state. States would be required to spend the money on healthcare for their citizens, but they would be free to come up with how to allocate the money. It makes perfect sense to turn the problem of regulating healthcare over to the states, since 95 percent of health care is provided and consumed within a state.

Graham-Cassidy won't dictate a single set of mandates that apply to all states. Instead, the structure of the health care system will vary from state to state. Each state would be free to decide the approach that best fits the needs and wants of their citizens, no matter what the "experts" in Washington – whether liberal or conservative, progressive or libertarian – believe.

President Trump supports Graham-Cassidy. He believes the country should not be forced to suffer under a healthcare system run by the Swamp. He believes if the citizens of Vermont want to come up with a single-payer system, then fine; but Utah should be free to create a market-oriented system. Some states could choose to remain in Obamacare, at their option.

The Founders envisioned the states as laboratories of democracy. Under Graham-Cassidy, states would be free to experiment with an approach to healthcare that best suits their different demographics, different provider networks, different insurance companies and different voter preferences. The ability to pursue local variations is a positive, not a negative.

President Trump doesn't trust the Swamp to fix healthcare, so he wants to empower governors and state legislatures to fix Obamacare one state at a time. He doesn't care if the governor is a Democrat or a Republican — he wants results.

Graham-Cassidy gives states the authority and the funding to clean up the mess created by Washington, D.C. It repeals the most onerous mandates of Obamacare to give states the flexibility and freedom to design their own healthcare solutions.

Now, it is up to Congress to take the next step. The legislative calendar requires Congress to act before the end of the month.

Congress must pass Graham-Cassidy and send it to President Trump for his signature. Only then will we turn a Washington failure into an American success.

-- Curtis Ellis, Senior Policy Advisor for America First Policies

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