Graham pushes new health care plan, would gives states large role

CHARLESTON (WCBD) – With Republican leaders struggling to find the votes needed to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is leading the charge with an alternative plan.

Graham said his proposal is intended to appeal to Republicans, and draw support from some Democrats.

“I’m working on an alternative idea,” Graham told reporters on Thursday.  

The South Carolina Republican partnered with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician, to put together a plan that would allow more than $100 billion in federal funding to go directly to the states each year.

This allotment of funds would allow states to either repeal, repair or keep their Obamacare programs.

“My goal is to get governors who have been critical of what we’re doing on our side, to get a bill that people at the state level think is fair and better,” said Graham. 

The plan also would repeal Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates but keep insurance regulations that protect people with pre-existing conditions.

“Rather than trying to run health care from Washington, we’re going to block grant it to the states,” said Graham. 

The plan isn’t seen as an attempt to directly compete with the healthcare bill Republicans are currently working on, one that is being written by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). 

Instead, Graham’s measure is seen as an alternative if that bill fails and a different plan is needed.

“If you believe Obamacare is the right solution than you can keep the structure and use this money,” said Graham. “If you are like Louisiana and South Carolina then you can come up with a new idea, you just have to spend the money on health care.”

The new draft aims to get enough support to meet the 50 vote threshold needed for passage. So far, it is unclear whether it will gain any traction. Senate votes on health care proposals are expected next week.

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