After first being undecided and then voting for three GOP proposals to kill Obamacare, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner says he has yet to figure out whether he’ll support the latest Republican healthcare proposal, put forth by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which would, among other things, end Obamacare’s Medicaid subsidies and, instead, block grant most of Medicaid expansion funds to the states.
Asked this morning by KDMT’s Jimmy Sengenberger if could see himself supporting the Cassidy-Graham plan, Gardner said he was “certainly” “interested in it,” but declined to throw his support behind the measure.
“Yeah, I’d have to get the specifics of it,” Gardner told Sengenberger. “But I certainly am interested in it. And I think it’s the right direction, in terms of giving the states more empowerment and the tools that they need to make a solution, anywhere from Burlington to Grand Junction and everywhere in between, how they can tailor it to the needs of the state. So, it is something that I am very intrigued by. I’d have to understand how the formula works a little bit. And they’re being very quiet about how the formula would work. But it does sound like it could result in a 42% increase in funding for the state of Colorado. And so, I just need to learn more about it.”
Vox’s Sarah Kliff described the Cassidy-Graham plan this way:
The proposal would eliminate the health care law’s subsidies for private insurance and end the Medicaid expansion. The health insurance marketplaces would no longer exist as they are envisioned to continue under other Republican proposals. The federal government would convert some (but not all) of that spending into a lump-sum payment to states. States could choose to spend this money on providing insurance — or they could use it to fund high-risk pools, or do other activities to pay the bills of patients with high medical needs. States wouldn’t get this money for free: They’d be required to kick in a small percentage themselves. The plan hasn’t been scored by the Congressional Budget Office yet, but analysts who have studied Cassidy-Graham estimate it would cut deeply into federal funding for the health law programs, likely resulting in millions losing coverage.
Gardner told Sengenberger the Cassidy-Graham proposal aims “to create a block grant system that would give the states control over their Medicaid dollars – their insurance dollars—and let the states create a system that is tailor-made to the people of their states, recognizing the differences between a Colorado and a Connecticut, and how each state can tailor their own approach. So, that’s an idea that continues to be talked about, and we’ll see how that goes.”
On air, Gardner lamented that recent U.S. Senate actions on healthcare were not bipartisan, and he wants Democrats to join him in a bipartisan effort to fix the health care system in America–even though Gardner was a leader of a completely partisan and secretive GOP strategy to kill Obamacare in the U.S. Senate.
Gardner continues to say he wants a healthcare proposal that lowers costs, but the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation concluded that under Obamacare, health insurance would be cheaper than under the GOP plan.