Congress Health Overhaul

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. waits as people in wheelchairs are removed after disrupting a Senate Finance Committee hearing to consider the Graham-Cassidy healthcare proposal, on Capitol Hill, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Washington.  AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

President Donald Trump on Monday said the person who has the solution to overhauling America's health care system is U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Trump's proposed budget for fiscal 2019 calls for the South Carolina Republican's block-grant approach to be implemented "as soon as possible."

Alongside Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy, Graham introduced a bill last fall to repeal and replace Obamacare by redistributing federal dollars back to the states as block grants. It would also change how the federal government pays for Medicaid. 

The budget, submitted by Trump and White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, "supports a two-part approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare, starting with enactment of legislation modeled closely after the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) bill as soon as possible."

Trump's budget also projects more than $90 billion in savings over 10 years if policies in the Graham-Cassidy bill are enacted.

It's a long-awaited victory for Graham, who for 75 days fought to get the bill passed last fall. Instead, the measure failed in September to get enough support in Congress. 

Still, Graham vowed to keep fighting for what he described as the most important thing he could ever do for the country.

"I'm glad to see there is no quit in President Trump when it comes to replacing Obamacare with the state-centered block grant known as Graham-Cassidy," Graham said in a statement Monday after the White House spending plan was released.

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"It is now time for Republicans – and some Democrats – to rally around Graham-Cassidy," he added.

Graham said his plan will give power back to the states, giving them the ability to determine how to best address their individual state's health care needs. 

The budget note says a block grant program would result in "greater choice and competition, with States and consumers in charge rather than the Washington bureaucracy."

Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-937-5590 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.

Political Reporter

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.

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