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Lindsey Graham's health care idea: Turn it over to the states

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Sen. Lindsey Graham is out with a new approach to replacing the Affordable Care Act: Turn the money over to the states and let them handle it. He's pitching it as a backup plan that could appeal to Republicans who want to see the ACA replaced and Democrats who just want to see it repaired — because states could decide which route to take.

The main points of his proposal, which he worked on with Sen. Bill Cassidy:

  • All federal spending on ACA health insurance — $110 billion in 2016 — would be turned over to the states.
  • Insurers would still have to cover pre-existing conditions.
  • Most of the ACA taxes, except the one on medical devices, would stay in place.

Why it matters: It's less about whether Graham's proposal gains traction, and more about the fact that he's one more example of Senate Republicans veering off in different directions. Graham is trying to position his plan to get a closer look if the main Senate health care bill fails.