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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has drafted an alternative to the updated Senate healthcare bill unveiled Thursday – one that could redirect the debate if the Better Care Reconciliation Act fails to win sufficient GOP support.
Graham’s proposal would send about $500 billion of the Affordable Care Act’s federal funding directly to the states, giving governors and state legislatures more control over how much of the Obama-era law it preserves.
Graham is marketing his proposal, which would allow states to replace Obamacare, make tweaks to the 7-year-old law, or keep it entirely in place, as an Obamacare replacement to Republicans and an Obamacare repair to Democrats.
“Instead of having a one-size-fits-all solution from Washington, we should return dollars back to the states to address each individual state’s health care needs,” Graham said in a Thursday press release.
“Just like no two patients are the same, no two states’ health care needs are the same,” he continued. “A solution that works in California may not work in Virginia. These funds are already being spent on Obamacare, but instead of having Washington decide, we’ll empower each individual state to choose the path that works best for them.”
Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy and Rick Santorum are working with Graham on the bill, which is expected to be offered as an amendment to the Better Care Reconciliation Act next week. The proposal is modeled on the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, which redirected federal funding to the states through block grants.
“We’re going to support Mitch’s effort with his new plan, but we want an alternative and we’re going to see which one can get 50 votes,” Graham said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “We’re not undercutting Mitch, he’s not undercutting us.”