In order to buy the support of Trumpcare holdout Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have introduced language into their controversial Obamacare repeal bill that would effectively bribe the Alaska Senator into supporting it.
According to the Independent Journal Review, the draft of the measure includes three provisions that would specifically benefit Alaska:
- Alaska (along with Hawaii) will continue to receive Obamacare’s premium tax credits while they are repealed for all other states. It appears this exemption will not affect Alaska receiving its state allotment under the new block grant in addition to the premium tax credits.
- Delays implementation of the Medicaid per capita caps for Alaska and Hawaii for years in which the policy would reduce their funding below what they would have received in 2020 plus CPI-M [Consumer Price Index for Medical Care].
- Provides for an increased federal Medicaid matching rate (FMAP) for both Alaska and Hawaii.
In effect, the language of the bill stipulates that, in exchange for voting to repeal Obamacare, Alaska will be rewarded by getting to keep Obamacare. Not only is that insanely, mind-numbingly, egregiously counterintuitive, but by virtue of voting for the repeal of Obamacare, the markets for which Alaska would have a special carve out would ultimately collapse.
In June, ahead of the Senate’s prior vote to repeal and replace Obamacare, Murkowski responded to the prospect of a special carve out for Alaska.
“Let’s just say that they do something that’s so Alaska-specific just to, quote, ‘get me,’ then you have a nationwide system that doesn’t work. That then comes crashing down and Alaska’s not able to kind of keep it together on its own.”
As next week’s pivotal vote approaches, time will tell if Murkowski will stand by her previous pledge to withstand being bribed by a shamelessly desperate Senate leadership.