Graham, Trump discuss alternate ObamaCare repeal bill

Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) met with President Trump Friday at the White House about the senator’s ObamaCare replacement proposal.

The meeting comes as some Republicans are pushing to keep alive their effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare despite the failed vote in the Senate early Friday morning. 


Graham has pitched his bill as a better alternative to ObamaCare than GOP leaders’ plans. His measure, also backed by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), would convert money currently being spent on providing ObamaCare coverage into a block grant to states. States could then choose how to spend the funds. 

“I had a great meeting with the President and know he remains fully committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare,” Graham said in a statement Friday afternoon.

“President Trump was optimistic about the Graham-Cassidy-Heller proposal. I will continue to work with President Trump and his team to move the idea forward.”


Graham has also spoken with House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) about the idea, Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop said. 

Meadows is also pushing to keep alive the repeal effort and said he had been talking to multiple senators.

“I just think that we’ve got to regroup and continue to stay involved and find something that has 51 votes in the Senate that we can make work,” Meadows told reporters Friday.

Continued efforts to replace the healthcare law face a steep path, though. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said after the failed vote early Friday on a slimmed-down repeal bill that “it is time to move on.”

Republicans have been unable to find 51 votes to pass a plan through the Senate. Other Republicans have started talking about a bipartisan approach. 

Graham has expressed hope that Democrats could sign on to his proposal, but so far none have. 

Liberal experts have criticized his plan. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote that the proposal would lead to “drastic cuts” in both Medicaid and subsidies for private insurance, because the amount of the block grants to states would be below ObamaCare spending levels.  

This story was updated at 5:09 p.m.

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