Graham-Cassidy won’t pass the Senate, but maybe it should. Why? Taking power away from Washington and pushing it back to the states isn’t a sure success, but we’ve already seen Congress repeatedly try and fail to fix our healthcare system. It's time to give someone else a chance.
In addition to eliminating the individual and employer mandates, the Graham-Cassidy proposal would keep the Obamacare taxes, but give that money to states instead of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). States would then have to figure out how to use that money to serve their constituents’ health care needs. Of course this is an oversimplification, but on the surface, this is the proposal.
To gain more knowledge about Graham-Cassidy the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing about the proposal on Tuesday. Like most events in D.C., it sounded more like a campaign rally. Instead of being productive, asking tough questions, Republican Senators asked Republican witnesses softball questions and Democrats did the same with their witnesses. In addition to the questions that bolstered their ideologies, Members from both sides took advantage of the hearing by using their speechwriters to create video clips for their donor emails! Overall, the hearing was no more than grandstanding...or what the health care debate has turned into since Obamacare was passed in 2010.
It is more clear than ever that Democrats are hell-bent on keeping Obamacare and Republicans are hell-bent on repealing it. However, both sides are much better at attacking the other’s ideas more so than bolstering a cogent and coherent plan. Which is why it’s a good idea to take these decisions away from a Congress that is so out of touch with the American people.
The bill could have inspired growth and opportunity from states that have not yet had the chance to innovate. State legislatures enjoy popularity, and as a whole are more aligned with the views of their constituents. If California and its constituents want single-payer health care, fine, they should have it. If Alabama wants to use their federal health care dollars for a more innovative solution to the modern health care system, great, they should get to. Or if states in the Northeast want to create their own exchanges and compete with each other, fantastic, they should get to try it.
The current healthcare debate in Washington has stalled, and taking power away from D.C. is a good idea. If for nothing better, it may serve as a wake up call to Congress. As former Senator Tom Coburn said in his farewell speech, “To reach a goal you must know where you are...you need to have an understanding of the problem.” Members only know how to score political points attacking the problems, but the American people need solutions. Solutions that aren’t coming from Washington.
The Senate was designed to produce compromise, but instead, out of the desire to tiptoe through the next election, produced gridlock. Graham-Cassidy had flaws, but it seems that taking the keys away from Congress may be the best option for all Americans. Federal lawmakers have had their chance and failed. Let’s give the reigns to states.
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Adam joined Restore Accountability in 2016 and manages the Foundation's day to day creative operations. Previously, he spent two years on Capitol Hill working for Senator Tom Coburn and Senator Jeff Flake...FULL BIO