Graham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets Justice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Trump says he's considering restricting travel to coronavirus 'hot spots' MORE (R-S.C.) said this week that Republicans would push to repeal ObamaCare if they win back the House and President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE is reelected in 2020.

"If we can get the House back and keep our majority in the Senate, and President Trump wins reelection, I can promise you not only are we going to repeal ObamaCare, we're going to do it in a smart way where South Carolina will be the biggest winner," Graham said in an interview with a South Carolina radio station.

"We've got to remind people that we're not for ObamaCare."

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Graham's repeal bill, introduced in 2017, would eliminate major sections of ObamaCare, including subsidies that help people buy insurance and the Medicaid expansion that covers low-income adults in 36 states and Washington, D.C.

The bill would essentially shift money from states like California that expanded Medicaid to states that didn't, like South Carolina. Such a move could force some states to cut health care services and reduce eligibility.

"If we could get the money back to the states, Democratic policies would be tested against our policies," Graham said. 

"This scares the hell out of the Democrats. This is what 2020 is about."

Previous GOP attempts to repeal ObamaCare were a driving force in Democrats taking back the House in 2018, and the issue has also reemerged among 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls debating the best approach to health care.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSome Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report Sunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in Trump defends firing of intel watchdog, calling him a 'disgrace' MORE has emphasized the need to shore up ObamaCare from attempts by Republicans and the Trump administration to dismantle the law, while several of his progressive rivals have focused on pushing policies such as "Medicare for All."

Democrats ran on protecting ObamaCare during the 2018 midterm elections and accused Republicans of trying to take away protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

House and Senate Democrats plan to follow the same playbook in 2020, as the Trump administration supports a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the entirety of ObamaCare. 

As such, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor Progressive group knocks McConnell for talking judicial picks during coronavirus Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Ky.) has veered away from talking about repealing ObamaCare, instead focusing on smaller health care fixes.

Graham on Tuesday touted his bill, which would allow states to opt out of consumer protections, like those that prevent insurers from charging people with pre-existing conditions more for coverage.

Senate leaders decided in 2017 not to put Graham's repeal bill up for a vote because it didn't have enough support. Conservatives fumed that Republicans failed to repeal ObamaCare despite having a majority in both houses with a Republican president. 

GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP senators begin informal talks on new coronavirus stimulus GOP presses for swift Ratcliffe confirmation to intel post Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus MORE (Maine), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGeorgia governor says he didn't know asymptomatic people could spread coronavirus McConnell: Impeachment distracted government from coronavirus threat Warren knocks McConnell for forcing in-person Senate vote amid coronavirus pandemic MORE (Ky.) and the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDemocratic super PAC targets McSally over coronavirus response GOP senator suspending campaign fundraising, donating paycheck amid coronavirus pandemic Biden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much MORE (Ariz.) all opposed the bill. But Graham insists it would be different next time.

"We were one vote short in the Senate," Graham said.