The Washington Examiner is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to bring the Graham Cassidy Obamacare repeal and replace bill up for a vote next week. The bill would take a lot of Obamacare spending and block grant it into payments to the states. It would also get rid of a number of mandates that the original affordable care act imposes. If the bill passes, and thus far only Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky has expressed explicit opposition to it, one analysis suggests that Republicans have Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont to thank for it.

Did Bernie Sanders bring Obamacare repeal and replace back from the dead?

Several weeks ago, thanks in large part to a last-minute flip-flop by Sen.

John McCain, R-Arizona, the last Obamacare Repeal and Replace effort went down to defeat. The conventional wisdom was that the effort of getting rid of significant portions of the Affordable Care Act was dead for the foreseeable future.

Sen Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, one of the principle co-sponsors of the repeal and replace bill, credits Bernie Sanders for reviving the prospects of gutting Obamacare. Sensing that the time was right, Sanders introduced the Medicare for All bill that would necessarily end private health care in America and impose a government-run system similar to the ones that exist in Canada and Great Britain. Even though the bill has no chance of passing and would bankrupt the country if it did, Graham has been beating the drums about a battle between federalism (his bill) and socialism (Sanders’ bill.) The comparison had focused the minds of Republican lawmakers who see single payer as a disaster.

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Naturally, supporters of Sanders’ bill are not buying the idea. However, some of the cosponsors of the Medicare for All bill, such as Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, have mounted a campaign to stop the Graham Cassidy bill on the theory that it would gut Obamacare even though their preferred piece of legislation would abolish it.

What happens now?

The negotiations behind the scenes involve which state gets how much money under the block grant system. The backroom wheeling and dealing is sausage making at its finest. Senators will claim that their vote hinges on how much Americans will be improved by repealing and replacing Obamacare. However, how much their particular state benefits will certainly be a consideration.

Rand Paul’s hard-headed attitude is something of a puzzler. The Graham Cassidy bill goes much further toward putting Obamacare on the ash heap of history that the bill that he voted for. However, Paul is busily grousing that the repeal and replace bill is “Obamacare light.” It is as if he never heard of taking half a loaf and then going for the rest.