Arizona’s governor has endorsed a last-minute effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, potentially giving a key skeptic of past repeal efforts, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), more reason to vote yes this time.
McCain, who cast a decisive third Republican vote against repeal in July, has not yet declared how he would vote on Cassidy-Graham. And although McCain has repeatedly raised objections to the rushed process of writing repeal legislation ― objections that would seem to apply equally to Cassidy-Graham ― he has also said he will take seriously the guidance of his governor. For that reason, Ducey’s endorsement got a lot of attention on Monday. The senator’s office did not return a request for comment.
The Cassidy-Graham proposal, which its sponsors introduced in late July but got almost no public attention until the last week or so, calls for replacing the Affordable Care Act with direct grants to the states. The money to states would decline over time, relative to what states stands stand to get current law, and in 2027 it would disappear altogether unless Congress appropriated it anew.
Additional cuts would affect populations, such as the disabled, who got coverage from Medicaid even before “Obamacare” came along.
Cassidy-Graham would also let states waive rules protecting people with pre-existing conditions, while eliminating the individual mandate, which is the requirement that people either carry insurance or pay a fine.
Although this legislation differs in its particulars from prior repeal efforts, broadly speaking the effects would be the same, independentanalysts have said. Government spending would come down, but fewer people would have health insurance. Some younger and healthy people would have cheaper coverage, but overall access to care and exposure to high medical bills would be worse, especially for those with serious medical problems.
In July, the Senate’s final effort at repeal came up just one vote short of the 50 it needed to pass (assuming Vice President Mike Pence would break the tie). That was thanks in part to McCain, who joined GOP colleagues Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in voting no.
On Monday, Graham was quick to hail Ducey’s announcement as a major victory, saying it’s “a great day for federalism, bad day for Obamacare.”…