Politics & Government

After Obamacare replacement fails, SC reps have different ideas about what to do next


Congressional Republicans are worried about the future of their effort to repeal-and-replace Obamacare after the GOP’s Senate health-care bill fell apart Monday. But South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham sees it as an opportunity.

Graham, R-Seneca, unveiled his own health-care reform bill last Thursday, alongside U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La. After Senate leaders backed off from their own proposal Monday, Graham took to Twitter to offer his own bill as a replacement.

Meanwhile, one of Graham’s S.C. colleagues said Republicans should move forward with a “clean” repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, took to Twitter Monday after two GOP senators announced their opposition to the Senate’s second attempt at repealing and replacing the ACA, or “Obamacare,” effectively killing the measure.

“I have supported in the past, and will support again a clean repeal of Obamacare,” Duncan tweeted.

Graham’s proposal attempts to sidestep some of the tensions between Republican moderates and conservatives by converting federal funding of Obamacare into block grants for the states to use as they see fit.

“Getting money and power out of Washington, and returning it to the states is the best hope for innovative health care,” Graham said.

Graham hopes his proposal could get the support of Democrats eager to preserve Obamacare’s regulations. However, no Democrats signed on to Graham’s bill when it came out last week.

Graham’s proposal did get some support from Columbia’s Democratic Mayor Steve Benjamin, who tweeted his thanks at Graham for advocating a bi-partisan solution.

Benjamin is a part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which is advocating a health bill that maintains coverage levels and avoids cuts to Medicaid.

“We must have a real solution to healthcare that provides accessible, affordable, quality (hashtag) healthcare,” Benjamin said.

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster joined in on Facebook, saying voters elected a Republican Congress “with the expectation that they would follow through on this very simple, very clear promise: help President Trump repeal Obamacare.”

“It’s now time for Congress to fulfill that promise and fix our failing health care system. The voters are counting on them,” McMaster said.

Other Republicans in Washington are preparing to go in a different direction.

Senate GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said repealing the ACA without a replacement plan would be the Senate’s next objective. McConnell earlier had said if the Republican plan failed, he might have to negotiate a more limited bill with Democrats.

President Donald Trump tweeted Monday night that “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate,” adding, “Dems will join in!”

Trump later tweeted Republicans should just “let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan.”

Duncan noted the House of Representatives did pass a replacement bill earlier this year. “I’ve done my part to repeal this horrible law, and the people of the third district know that.”

Duncan touted a 2015 repeal effort that passed the House and Senate, only to be vetoed by President Barack Obama.