Sep 13 2017

Senators Introduce Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson

Legislation Block Grants Obamacare Funding To States For Health Care

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) today unveiled legislation to reform health care.

The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) proposal repeals the structure and architecture of Obamacare and replaces it with a block grant given annually to states to help individuals pay for health care.

This proposal removes the decisions from Washington and gives states significant latitude over how the dollars are used to best take care of the unique health care needs of the patients in each state.

The block grant is run through CHIP and is subject to a mandatory appropriation.

The grant dollars would replace the federal money currently being spent on Medicaid Expansion, Obamacare tax credits, cost-sharing reduction subsidies and the basic health plan dollars.

The proposal gives states the resources and regulatory flexibility to innovate and create healthcare systems that lower premiums and expand coverage.

More specifically, GCHJ:  

  • Repeals Obamacare Individual and Employer Mandates.
  • Repeals the Obamacare Medical Device Tax.
  • Strengthens the ability for states to waive Obamacare regulations.
  • Returns power to the states and patients by equalizing the treatment between Medicaid Expansion and Non-expansion States through an equitable block grant distribution.
  • Protects patients with pre-existing medical conditions.

GCHJ also eliminates the inequity of three states receiving 37 percent of Obamacare funds and brings all states to funding parity by 2026. As an example, Pennsylvania has nearly double the population of Massachusetts, but receives 58 percent less Obamacare money than Massachusetts.

Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson treats all Americans the same no matter where they live.

“Instead of a Washington-knows-best approach like Obamacare, our legislation empowers those closest to the health care needs of their communities to provide solutions,” said Graham.  “Our bill takes money and power out of Washington and gives it back to patients and states. It takes us off the path to single payer health care – which would be a disaster – and puts us on a path toward local control.  Our approach will have better health care outcomes, transparency, and sustainability than Obamacare.  This bill fundamentally transforms health care in the United States.”

“This past week, we heard testimony from Democrat and Republican governors and Medicaid directors who believe that, with increased flexibility and freedom from Washington, DC regulations, they can do a better job of providing coverage for the people of their state. We agree,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This amendment gives that flexibility to states while protecting patients and the federal taxpayer.” 

“Doing nothing to try to solve Obamacare’s failures isn’t an option. Up until last month, Nevadans living in 14 of our 17 counties were not going to be able to buy insurance on the exchange next year. On top of that, the most disadvantaged Nevadans are forced to pay a fine for a product that they cannot afford,” said Heller. “The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson plan is the most viable solution to achieving our health care reform goals by recognizing Obamacare’s failed one-size-fits-all approach and returning power to the states. I thank Senators Graham and Cassidy for their leadership, and I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting a plan that allows our governors and legislatures the flexibility to support programs that are currently working in our states and to explore new options to address coverage and cost.”

“Obamacare continues to collapse, and we have no choice but to address this problem head on,” Sen. Johnson said. “Returning more health care decisions to the states and ensuring equal treatment for states like Wisconsin that spend taxpayer dollars wisely will allow local leaders to tailor their health care system to the needs of its citizens while maintaining protections for those with high cost and pre-existing conditions.”