Alaska would see federal health care funding for insurance subsidies and Medicaid shrink by 38 percent by 2016 under the Graham-Cassidy proposal, according to a new analysis of the last last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare done by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The partial report was obtained by Axios according to a story from Thursday night. It’s the first government-backed analysis of the Graham-Cassidy proposal and one of the few expected to be available fore the Senate is expected to take a vote on the overhaul.
There’s been plenty of third-party analysis of the Graham-Cassidy bill that suggests its impacts on states like Alaska would be disastrous, with some estimates reaching $1 billion for Alaska by 2026 (the law extends only to 2026 so estimates that include 2027 and onward are particularly extreme). Lawmakers supporting the bill have been quick to excuse those numbers for various reasons, and undecided moderates like Sen. Lisa Murkowski have said they’re waiting on official data.
The federal report is a bit more optimistic for Alaska than reports put out by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Avalere Health and the Center for American Progress, but still presents a huge cut to funding. One report suggested 41,000 more Alaskans would be without coverage in 2027.
The estimates, however, show windfalls to states that refused to expand Medicaid and were bad about signing people up for the individual insurance marketplace. Mississippi, for example, would see a 347 percent growth in federal funding through the Graham-Cassidy bill according to the numbers.
Latest on Murkowski
There’s been considerable backlash to leaked reports that senators are considering a handful of Alaska-specific measures (including one that would essentially allow Alaska to keep Obamacare) to win over Murkowski. Since the initial reports, people have started wondering if such a move would even be constitutional.
“They probably can’t do that,” writes Brian Galle, a Georgetown law professor in a Medium post about the issue. “Article I, section 8 of the Constitution says ‘all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.’ Joseph Story, writing in 1834, thought that the point of that provision was to prevent coalitions of states from ganging up, in Congress, to benefit themselves at the expense of others. While the “uniformity clause” has been watered down over time, it’s still enough to swamp the Alaska Purchase proposal.”
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal also suggests it’d be fair for Congress and the president to rain down retribution on Alaska if Murkowski refuses to repeal Obamacare with this vote. It’s a retread of the alleged threats Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made in the lead up to the last failed vote on health care. Here’s an excerpt from the article by Kimberly Strassel:
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called Ms. Murkowski after her July health-care defection to let her know President Trump would be turning off the tap, and ending Alaska’s enormous opportunity to cash in on energy deregulation. The liberal press howled over this supposed “threat.” But why should the nation continue to send outsize taxpayer funds to a state that is single-handedly condemning Americans to ObamaCare?
Vice President Mike Pence has also put the pressure on Alaska by calling into “The Dave Stieren Show” and “The Mike Porcaro Show” on Thursday to pitch the Graham-Cassidy bill to Alaskans. He also asked listeners to get in touch with Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan and urge them to support the bill when it goes to a vote next week. Transcripts of both appearances are available through the White House press office.
It appears, however, that Republicans are backing away from such a plan if such a plan existed in the first place, according to a report from The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast also notes that there was a great deal of consternation from Republican lawmakers about the so-called “Cornhusker Kickback” contained in Obamacare to get the vote of Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson.
It just so happens, the article notes, that the senator who led the charge on challenging that provision’s legality just so happened to be Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Then there’s this:
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 22, 2017