Last week, H.R. 1628 was introduced in the U.S. Senate. The bill is a last-ditch Obamacare repeal effort, but it has the potential to defund Planned Parenthood and end federally sponsored abortions as well.
The bill was introduced by four senators: Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Former Senator Rick Santorum accompanied the four sponsors to add support.
This new legislation would create block grants to be given to each state, enabling the states to establish their own healthcare systems. Sen. Cassidy’s website describes this concept:
The grant dollars would replace the federal money currently being spent on Medicaid Expansion, Obamacare tax credits, cost-sharing reduction subsidies and the basic health plan dollars… The proposal gives states the resources and regulatory flexibility to innovate and create healthcare systems that lower premiums and expand coverage.
Sen. Cassidy’s site also points out that four states get 37 percent of Obamacare dollars, and that this bill would bring equality between the states. This bill would defund Planned Parenthood, would not fund health insurance plans that provide abortions, and would only fund abortions in cases of rape, incest, or threats to the life of the mother.
The bill is tentatively being supported by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, which is taking the time to examine the language closely. President Marjorie Dannenfelser stated:
It is extremely encouraging to see pro-life Senators led by Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy offering new ideas and solutions to enact a healthcare reform reconciliation bill for FY17… SBA List will need time to review the language carefully to ensure that it will roll back taxpayer funding of abortion under Obamacare and redirect abortion giant Planned Parenthood’s tax funding to community health centers.
The bill is being pushed through the Senate as quickly as possible. Sen. Graham is rallying all the troops, calling on President Trump, Vice President Pence, and the Senate GOP leaders to help gather votes. “The idea that the Republican Party has done its best to repeal and replace Obamacare is a joke,” Graham said pointedly.
Sen. Johnson is also making an effort to rally support for this bill he has sponsored. Pushing back against those who don’t think the bill does enough, he responded, “This is our last shot…I will never let perfect be the enemy of good…This is far better than Obamacare.”
Senate Republicans are not alone in their efforts for healthcare reform; Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced a single-payer healthcare bill on the same day as these four Senate Republicans released their healthcare bill. Sanders’ bill is being co-sponsored by at least five Senate Democrats.
Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0