Sen. Graham: ‘We Want Something Better’ Than Obamacare

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks during the second day of Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett October 13, 2020. (Photo by DREW ANGERER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks during the second day of Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett October 13, 2020. (Photo by DREW ANGERER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) opened Tuesday’s confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett with a reference to Monday’s hearing, where Democrats on the Judiciary Committee “had very emotional pleas about Obamacare,” including photos of people with pre-existing conditions, he noted.

Graham said that under the Affordable Care Act, three states (California, New York, and Massachusetts) get 35 percent of the money, thereby short-changing South Carolina. “If you are going to have money allocated for Obamacare, we aren’t going to sit back and quietly let you give 35 percent of it to three states,” he said.

“What else has happened in South Carolina? Four rural hospitals have closed because the revenue streams are uncertain. 30 percent increase in premiums in South Carolina for those on Obamacare. I was on Obamacare for a few years before I got on Tricare. My premiums went up 300 percent. Coverage was almost non-existent. A $6,000 deductible. I want a better deal.”

Here is a transcript of Graham’s remarks, in which he gave his solution to the nation’s teetering health care system:

“I want to give you my side of the story about Obamacare,” Graham said:

From my point of view, Obamacare has been a disaster for the State of South Carolina. All of you over there want to impose Obamacare on South Carolina. We don’t want it. We want something better. We want something different. You know what we want in South Carolina? South Carolina care, not Obamacare.

Now why do we want that? Under the Affordable Care Act, three states get 35 percent of the money, folks. Can you name them? I’ll help you. California, New York, and Massachusetts. They’re 22 percent of the population. Senator Feinstein’s from California; Nancy Pelosi’s from California; chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democratic Senate, is from New York. And Massachusetts is Elizabeth Warren.

Now why do they get 35 percent of the money when they’re only 22 percent of the population? That’s the way they designed the law. The more you spend, the more you get. What does it mean for the people of South Carolina?

If you had a per-patient formula where you got the same amount from the federal government to the state whether you lived in Charleston or Columbia or San Francisco or New York City, if you leveled that out, it would be almost a billion dollars more for us in South Carolina. So to my friends over there, we’re going to fight back. We want our money.

If you are going to have money allocated for Obamacare, we’re not going to sit back and quietly let you give 35 percent of it to three states. What else has happened in South Carolina? Four rural hospitals have closed because the revenue streams are uncertain. 30 percent increase in premiums in South Carolina for those on Obamacare. I was on Obamacare for a few years before I got on Tricare. My premiums went up 300 percent. My coverage was almost non-existent. A $6,000 deductible. So I want a better deal.

And that’s a political fight. I’m in a campaign at home. If it were up to me, we would block-grant this money, send it back to the states in a more fair allocation and we would require pre-existing conditions to be covered as part of the block grant. We want sick people covered, but I have an idea. I think South Carolina may be able to deal with diabetes better than and different than California.

If you want good outcomes in medicine, you need innovation. And the best way to get innovation is to allow people to try different things to get better outcomes. So the debate on healthcare is consolidating all the power in Washington, have some bureaucrat you’ll never meet running this program versus having it centered in the state where you live.

Under my proposal, South Carolina would get almost a billion dollars more. The State of South Carolina would be in charge of administering Obamacare. They couldn’t build football stadiums with the money — they’d have to spend it on health care, they’d have to cover pre-existing conditions. But as a patient in South Carolina you would have a voice you don’t have today. If you didn’t like what was happening to you on the health care front you could go to local officials and complain. And the people you are complaining to live in your state. They send their family to the same hospitals you go. That’s a structural difference.

That’s got nothing to do with this hearing. It’s got everything to do with politics. We on this side do not believe Obamacare is the best way to provide quality healthcare over time. Our friends on the other side? This is a place holder for single payer healthcare. If you don’t believe me, just ask them. So that’s the fight going into 2020. Doesn’t make them bad, it just makes them different.

If it were up to me, bureaucrats would not be administering health care from Washington; people in South Carolina would be running healthcare. If it were up to me, we’d get more money under Obamacare than we do today. 35 percent would not go to three states and sick people would be covered. So that’s a political debate…



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