Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina believes President Donald Trump should step back from repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and "let it collapse" if the GOP cannot pass a better alternative soon, the legislator said on March 15.
"Here's what I would tell the president: If you can't get a better deal and if you can't protect that 62-year-old worker in Greenville [South Carolina] from having dramatic premium increases because Democrats won't work with you and you can't get the Republican Party on board, stop, take a time-out, let it collapse," Graham told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," according to Newsmax. "Then, turn to the Democrats and say, 'This was the system you created. It has collapsed, now help me replace it.' That's what I would do."
Graham said the ACA is already "collapsing" in his home state, as four out of five providers have dropped their Obamacare plans, leaving only Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage in the area.
"They are about to go out of the market," he added. "Obamacare is about to collapse."
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As is Medicaid expansion, which South Carolina rejected, said Graham.
"You're going to have every governor throughout the nation enrolling millions of people in Medicaid and it's already structurally broken," the Southern lawmaker explained. "You would lose me if that is coming over. I'm not going to punish South Carolina, and I'm not going to take a broken program and add millions to it before we can reform it."
Trump, meanwhile, is "really working hard" to back the American Health Care Act, the GOP's bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, the senator said of his former rival. And he hopes Republicans, and potentially a few Democrats, can unite to pass the bill that some conservatives are denouncing as another version of the ACA since it maintains some of the current law's provisions.
"This is the last, best chance for Republicans to do it by ourselves, and maybe screw it up," Graham said. "So if you can't get the product you want, Mr. President, don't buy it because Republicans tell you, you have to."
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The repeal and replace legislation has had a difficult week after a March 13 report from the Congressional Budget Office determined that 24 million fewer people would have healthcare coverage in 10 years, compared to if the ACA remained in place, according to The Washington Post. However, Republicans have stood by the bill, since it would lower the deficit by $337 billion due to lower Medicaid spending and would promote individual choice.