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Graham-Cassidy: The Worst GOP Repeal Bill, Confirmed

By September 22, 2017No Comments

Since its announcement last week, Graham-Cassidy, the Senate’s latest iteration of secret, partisan repeal bill that would raise costs, decrease options, remove protections for pre-existing conditions and end Medicaid as we know it, has run into setback after setback, from seemingly every entity with a stake in this legislation. Just take a look for yourself…

“With their deadline fast approaching, Senate Republicans’ rush to repeal and replace Obamacare remains as unpopular as ever with the public. Only 24 percent of Americans support Graham-Cassidy, the health care bill Republicans are furiously whipping to pass ahead of September 30, according to a new poll released Thursday by Public Policy Polling. The poll is the first to date of the proposed legislation, which would cripple Obamacare’s exchanges and sharply cut long-term Medicaid spending while also taking billions of funding from blue states that implemented Obamacare and giving it to red ones that did not.”

“In public, President Donald Trump is all-in on the Senate’s final chance to repeal Obamacare. But privately, there’s ambivalence in the White House about the bill’s contents and its chances of clearing the tightly divided chamber next week… The public stance is coupled with a sense of doubt inside the White House, though, about the bill and deep concerns about whether it can pass the Senate or House, according to administration officials and congressional sources. These people say the president and his team have little sway with some key members, like GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona and Murkowski, the trio that tanked Republicans’ repeal attempt in July.”

“An internal analysis by the Trump administration concludes that 31 states would lose federal money for health coverage under Senate Republicans’ latest effort to abolish much of the Affordable Care Act, with the politically critical state of Alaska facing a 38 percent cut in 2026. The report, produced by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, focuses on the final year of a block grant that states would receive under the Cassidy-Graham legislation. It shows that government funding for such health insurance would be 9 percent lower overall in 2026 under the plan than under current law.”

“The National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) warned Republicans on Thursday that the Senate’s latest ObamaCare repeal bill would place a massive burden on states. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), would eliminate ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion and subsidies beginning in 2020, converting the funding to state block grants. It would also change the federal government’s funding of the traditional Medicaid program from an open-ended commitment to the states to a per capita cap on each enrollee. ‘Taken together, the per-capita caps and the envisioned block grant would constitute the largest intergovernmental transfer of financial risk from the federal government to the states in our country’s history,’ the NAMD’s board of directors wrote in a statement Thursday.”

“Bipartisan, fully negotiated and analyzed reforms to our nation’s health care system are essential if we are to ensure access to quality, affordable health care coverage for all Americans. Cooperation across party lines is critical to creating legislation that will be sustainable over the long term. It is regrettable that consideration of the Graham-Cassidy amendment is taking place entirely outside of a productive bipartisan process.”

“Alaska could receive a special bonus under the GOP-led Graham-Cassidy health care bill for having premiums higher than any other state. Studies this week, however, also indicate a dark future for insurance costs in the state. According to financial projections produced by the office of Sen. Bill Cassidy, one of the bill’s authors, Alaska would be the only state to receive additional money from the legislation’s $182 billion stability fund. The money would be delivered through a provision in the bill that, in 2026, would award each state $4,400 in federal subsidies to each ‘eligible beneficiary.’ Alaska, however, would be awarded $6,500, or 48 percent more than other states.”

“Arizona stands to lose a third of its federal funds that support the expanded Medicaid program as early as 2020 if Congress adopts the Graham-Cassidy bill, according to legislative budget staffers. The analysis released late Thursday by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee shows the state now gets about $3.8 billion in federal dollars for Medicaid expansion and the health insurance exchange. That is expected to grow to $4.9 billion by 2020. Under the Graham-Cassidy health-care bill, the report says, the state would get $3.2 billion in 2020. That $1.7 billion difference — a 35 percent change compared to current law — could affect the approximately 80,000 Arizonans now getting care under a federally funded expanded Medicaid program.”

“The health care bill Senate Republicans are rushing to finish would cripple West Virginia opioid treatment and end Medicaid expansion, according to an analysis that also says the bill could end coverage of pre-exisiting conditions.Sean O’Leary, senior policy analyst for the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, said the last-ditch attempt to get a GOP-only Obamacare repeal though the Senate would cut Medicaid funding so much that the state would have to roll back expansion. In addition, he said, while Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W. Va., negotiated added funding for opioid treatment in previous Affordable Care Act repeal bills, there is none in this legislation. ‘There is no extra money for opioids. There’s nothing,’ O’Leary said. ‘So it could really, really have a really devastating impact on the state’s battle against opioid addiction.’”

“The Maine Hospital Association is urging U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine to oppose the latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The president of the association says the Graham-Cassidy bill is similar to previous efforts that have been rejected. One major component of Graham-Cassidy is that it would convert Medicaid to a block grant program and, in the process, critics say, significantly reduce funding. Maine Hospital Association President Steven Michaud says Maine would lose $1 billion in federal dollars by 2027, which would devastate rural hospitals that operate on razor-thin margins. ‘We’re talking about something that is almost impossible to overstate. We’re talking about, for sure, service closures and probably hospital closures if this would go through,’ he says.”

“Gov. Brian Sandoval said Thursday that the flexibility fellow Republican Sen. Dean Heller promised will be good for Nevada in a health-care bill he’s sponsoring is a “false choice” because the legislation will also slash funding. Sandoval, in a statement to The Nevada Independent, said he would not ‘pit seniors, children, families, the mentally ill, the critically ill, hospitals, care providers or any other Nevadan against each other’ because of the steep cuts to federal funding the state would face if the Heller-sponsored measure were to pass. A state analysis, also obtained by The Nevada Independent, agrees with independent calculations from various health-care organizations estimating Nevada will lose between $600 million and $2 billion in federal funding by 2026 if the legislation passes.”