Graham-Cassidy would pass if we had a Republican Congress

With the Graham-Cassidy bill to partially repeal Obamacare and reconfigure government health care, the Republican Congress has an opportunity to do what they promised and prove to voters they're not totally dysfunctional.  As many have said, the bill is not perfect, nor is it complete.  But no bill could be.  Neither Obamacare nor Graham-Cassidy addresses the looming problems in health care.  The feds are spending more than $1 trillion a year on Medicaid and Medicare.  If Congress is to get any control over spending, they will have to "adjust" those two huge programs regardless of what happens to Obamacare.  That means Congress will need to revisit health care again and again.

In CMS's "2016 Actuarial Report on the Financial Outlook for Medicaid," we read on page 16:

Total Medicaid expenditures (Federal and State combined) for medical assistance payments and administration are estimated to have grown 4.3 percent in 2016 to $575.9 billion and are projected to reach $957.5 billion by 2025, increasing at an average rate of 5.7 percent per year through the projection period.

Such growth rates are unsustainable, and the feds have demonstrated little ability to rein them in.  Graham-Cassidy block-grants Medicaid funds to the states and lets the states run the program.  That's fairly "revolutionary."  And it's an exercise in federalism that Republicans should be applauding.  On FNC's Special Report on Sep. 21, Sen. Graham elegantly explained his bill (7-minute video).  Graham also explained the real reason Democrats won't support the bill: the loss of control by the federal government.  It's not just that Democrats don't trust the states; it's that they want all power to reside in the central government.

If Republicans don't pass Graham-Cassidy before September 30, they will lose the reconciliation option and will then need to jettison the filibuster to pass anything on health care reform.  That's why I hope Congress will complete its voting on Graham-Cassidy before Sept. 30, because if it does go down, Republicans might then pass a consolation bill – a simple repeal of the mandates.

Young Americans who dutifully complied with the individual mandate will look back at the all the money they spent on overpriced health insurance and see it as wasted money.  Junking the employer mandate would be a boost for small business; there should be an uptick in hiring.  If congressional Republicans can't at least repeal the mandates, then they're not much better than Democrats, and much less effective at getting stuff done.

Some congressional Republicans are invoking "regular order" and bipartisanship.  Those fine goals should not become an excuse for doing nothing.  And besides, there wasn't much bipartisanship when Democrats passed Obamacare.  Senator McCain might click on this video and remind himself about the true nature of Democrat bipartisanship, it's a one-way street.  Republicans are deluding themselves if they think Democrats would ever be willing to compromise on tweaking their precious programs, except for spending more money on them.

So let the bipartisanship begin after repeal.  Republicans were sent to Congress to do something very specific: repeal Obamacare.  If they can't do that, then they need to find another line of work.  If they won't even repeal the mandates, then let's call them what they are: liars . Voters should demand that a vote on Graham-Cassidy actually happens so they can know exactly who the liars are.

Some Republicans are allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the possible.  Do congressional Republicans suffer from some Hamlet complex, an inability to decide and then act on their choices?  We may know within the week.

Jon N. Hall of Ultracon Opinion is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City

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