Tag

Graham Cassidy Archives — Protect Our Care

3 Facts You Should Know After Sec. Azar’s Ways and Means Hearing

HHS Secretary Alex Azar appeared before the House Ways and Means Committee today and doubled down on the Trump Administration’s war on health care. His language may have been nuanced, but the policy results would be the same. Here are three key facts you should know after his testimony today.

FACT #1: THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S OPIOID FUNDING WILL NOT BE EFFECTIVE IF IT CONTINUES PARTISAN EFFORTS TO REPEAL THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND GUT MEDICAID

WHAT SEC. AZAR SAID: “The President’s Budget recognizes the devastation caused by this [opioid] crisis across America, by providing a historic new investment of $10 billion in HHS funding to address the opioid crisis and serious mental illness…”

THE FACTS: While the additional funding for opioids is welcomed, it will have little to no impact if the Administration continues its partisan push to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and gut Medicaid.

  • Vox: Trump’s budget could help fight the opioid crisis — if it didn’t try to repeal Obamacare. Vox: “Medicaid is particularly important in this area. A 2014 study by Truven Health Analytics researchers found that Medicaid paid for about 25 percent — $7.9 billion of $31.3 billion — of projected public and private spending for addiction treatment in 2014. That made it the second-biggest payer of addiction treatment after all local and state government programs. Yet not only would Trump’s budget plan end the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion, it would also make additional cuts to Medicaid.”

FACT #2: SEC. AZAR DOUBLED DOWN ON THE PARTISAN REPEAL ATTEMPT THAT WILL RIP COVERAGE AWAY FROM TENS OF MILLIONS, RAISE COSTS FOR MILLIONS MORE, AND GUT PROTECTIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

WHAT SEC. AZAR SAID: “The Budget supports repealing Obamacare and replacing the law with flexibility for states to create free and open healthcare tailored to citizens’ needs. The two-part approach is modeled closely after the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment to H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017, and also includes additional reforms to put healthcare spending on a sustainable fiscal path.”

THE FACTS: The Graham-Cassidy legislation was the worst of all the partisan repeal efforts Congress considered last year that ripped coverage away from tens of millions of people, raised costs on millions more, gutted protections for pre-existing conditions, and slashed Medicaid.

  • Analysts Agree: Every State Loses Under Graham-Cassidy and Many Working and Middle Class Families See Their Costs Increase. Multiple independent analyses agree that the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill would cut federal funding to states. Over time, every state loses because Graham-Cassidy zeroes out its block grants and ratchets down its spending on the Medicaid per capita cap. This means people would not have access to the financial assistance to help lower their health care bills, and federal Medicaid funding would no longer adjust for public health emergencies, prescription drug or other cost spikes, or other unexpected increases in need.
  • 32 Million Would Lose Health Coverage. As a result of zeroing out block grants for Marketplace tax credits and Medicaid expansion and additional cuts to Medicaid, the Graham-Cassidy bill is essentially repealing the Affordable Care Act without replacing it.
  • Graham-Cassidy Would Raise Costs For People With Pre-Existing Conditions. Graham-Cassidy would allow states to let insurance companies once again charge people with pre-existing conditions more, which could raise costs for the more than 134 million Americans that have a pre-existing condition. An individual with asthma, for example, would face a premium surcharge of $4,340. The surcharge for pregnancy would be $17,320, while it would be $142,650 more for patients with metastatic cancer.

FACT #3: SEC. AZAR DOUBLED DOWN ON THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S WAR ON MEDICAID

WHAT SEC. AZAR SAID: “Our budget proposes a new future for Medicaid that will restructure Medicaid financing, provide states with new flexibilities to better serve our communities, improve the state plan and waiver processes, and provide the right incentives to preserve the program for future generations.”

THE FACTS: The Trump Administration is doubling down on its war on Medicaid by continuing to push for the Graham-Cassidy legislation that ended Medicaid expansion, which has given 15 million people access to care, and by slashing traditional Medicaid, putting the care of millions of seniors, children, and people with disabilities at risk. The Administration’s attempts to impose onerous work requirements are not about work, but about kicking people off their health care. The fact is most people on Medicaid who can work, are working. These requirements are the opposite of what we need to be doing to help people find and keep jobs.

It’s Back: President Trump’s Budget Seeks to Revive Health Repeal

To: Interested Parties

From: Leslie Dach, Campaign Chairman, Protect Our Care

Subject: It’s Back: President Trump’s Budget Seeks to Revive Health Repeal

Date: February 13, 2018

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

President Trump’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal calls for the passage of the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill, the worst of the partisan repeal bills Congress considered last year. If you forgot – and who can blame you, there were a lot of repeal bills! – Graham-Cassidy was deemed “crueler and more cynical” than previous repeal proposals, in large part due to its draconian Medicaid cuts, and garnered just 24% approval before it died in the Senate without a vote. It was opposed by the American Medical Association, AARP, the American Cancer Society, insurers, physicians, faith leaders, nearly every medical and patient’s rights organization, a coalition representing all 50 state Medicaid directors, and Jimmy Kimmel – who analysts said had a “better grasp of health care policy” than the GOP senators who pushed the proposal.

Specifically, the Graham-Cassidy bill Trump wants to bring back would:

  • Take away coverage from 32 million Americans by 2027, with 15 million Americans losing their insurance and premiums increasing by 20 percent in the first year.
  • Gut Medicaid by imposing severe cuts and per-capita caps, forcing states to either raise people’s taxes or make draconian cuts to schools and other vital programs.
  • Raise costs on working- and middle-class families by eliminating financial assistance that helps pay for care. Graham-Cassidy ends premium subsidies, which help 9 million Americans pay for coverage, and Medicaid expansion, which has helped 15 million people get the care they need. These programs would be converted into a block grant and eventually zeroed out.
  • Remove protections for those with pre-existing conditions, with the Congressional Budget Office finding that many people with pre-existing conditions “might not be able to purchase coverage at all.”
  • Harm women’s health by preventing Medicaid enrollees from accessing preventive health and family planning services through Planned Parenthood.

In short, Graham-Cassidy would irreparably harm the American health care system, and the fact that President Trump still considers it a good option shows just how out of touch he is with the American people. The negative reaction to its inclusion have been swift:

New York Times Editorial Board: “It calls for (yet again) the repeal of the Affordable Care Act… Medicare and Medicaid, which benefit one-third of Americans, are targeted for cuts of hundreds of billions of dollars. If Congress adopted Mr. Trump’s proposal, millions of people would stand to lose health insurance.”

Planned Parenthood: “This year’s budget plan proposes sweeping changes that, if implemented, would radically reduce people’s access to health care and information through vital programs, especially for women. Whether or not Congress subscribes to the president’s priorities, the entire proposal is a blueprint for policymaking that the administration will no doubt use to advance its agenda.”

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: “Eliminating the health insurance marketplace subsidies and transforming Medicaid funding into a per-capita cap or block-grant structure could leave millions of Americans unable to access critical health services. Medicaid serves as an essential safety-net for more than 2.3 million Americans with a history of cancer, including one-third of all pediatric cancer patients at the point of diagnosis.”

American Lung Association: “Over the past year, Americans have been hit by repeated public health crises, from devastating wildfires and deadly storms to an influenza epidemic. President Trump’s budget proposal would simply make things worse.

Initial news coverage of the budget proposal also focused on the havoc it would wreak in the American health care system:

Los Angeles Times: “The White House is doubling down on the repeal effort, calling for massive cuts to healthcare assistance in its 2019 budget … Cuts of this magnitude – which parallel repeal legislation pushed unsuccessfully by GOP congressional leaders last year – would likely leave tens of millions more Americans without health coverage, independent analyses have indicated.”

Washington Post: “On healthcare for low-income Americans, Trump’s budget calls for cutting federal Medicaid funding by $250 billion over the next 10 years, as the administration envisions passing a law ‘modeled closely’ on a Senate Republican proposal that failed last fall to repeal the Affordable Care Act…  Experts say the overall reduction in government spending would cost millions of Americans their health insurance.”

Wall Street Journal: “The budget proposal includes $68.4 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services, a 21% drop from the funding level enacted last year. The proposal would also revive a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and cut spending on Medicare and Medicaid. It calls for enactment of a law to scrap the ACA and instead give block grants to states to establish their own health systems, a plan modeled after GOP legislation that failed to pass last year.”

CNBC: The new budget proposal also would seek a rollback of Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid benefits to poor adults. Medicaid offers health coverage to primarily low-income people. Before Obamacare, most states either denied Medicaid coverage to people who did not have dependent children or set very low limits on how much a person could earn and still qualify for coverage.

Business Insider: “The budget contains cuts to funding for Medicare and other social safety net programs. During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly promised not to cut funding to these programs.”

USA Today: “The budget proposes repealing the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid and limiting the amount of money states receive for the jointly-funded health care program for the poor. It would also end after two years the private insurance subsidies for people who don’t get coverage through a government program or an employer, while giving states grants to develop their own programs.”

STAT News: “The proposals are a hodgepodge of relatively narrow policies that take aim at various parts of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. One would reduce the amount of money doctors and hospitals are reimbursed for hospital-administered drugs under Medicare Part B; another would let some states engage in more aggressive negotiation for drugs in their Medicaid programs. Others take aim at a drug discount program for hospitals and at seniors’ out-of-pocket spending.”

Since taking office last year, President Donald Trump and his Administration have carried out an unrelenting war on our health care with a goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act and gutting Medicaid. Trump has used his administrative powers to sabotage our health care and continue to beat the drum of partisan repeal of the increasingly-popular Affordable Care Act.

While the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress want to keep up this war on health care in 2018, the American people are saying “Enough is Enough.” More than eleven million people signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov despite all the sabotage efforts. The Affordable Care Act is more popular than it has ever been. And millions of people across the country made their voices heard at rallies, town halls and through calling their Member of Congress to fight these repeal efforts. The American people are right: enough IS enough – it’s time for President Trump and the GOP to end their war on our health care.

Coverage Roundup: Trump’s Budget Revives Health Care Repeal

As the dust settles around today’s surprise move by President Trump to revive the Graham-Cassidy plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gut Medicaid by including it in his annual budget blueprint, here’s a roundup of initial coverage:

Los Angeles Times: “The White House is doubling down on the repeal effort, calling for massive cuts to healthcare assistance in its 2019 budget … Cuts of this magnitude – which parallel repeal legislation pushed unsuccessfully by GOP congressional leaders last year – would likely leave tens of millions more Americans without health coverage, independent analyses have indicated.”

Wall Street Journal: “The budget proposal includes $68.4 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services, a 21% drop from the funding level enacted last year. The proposal would also revive a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and cut spending on Medicare and Medicaid. It calls for enactment of a law to scrap the ACA and instead give block grants to states to establish their own health systems, a plan modeled after GOP legislation that failed to pass last year.”

Washington Post: “On healthcare for low-income Americans, Trump’s budget calls for cutting federal Medicaid funding by $250 billion over the next 10 years, as the administration envisions passing a law ‘modeled closely’ on a Senate Republican proposal that failed last fall to repeal the Affordable Care Act…  Experts say the overall reduction in government spending would cost millions of Americans their health insurance.”

CNBC: The new budget proposal also would seek a rollback of Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid benefits to poor adults. Medicaid offers health coverage to primarily low-income people. Before Obamacare, most states either denied Medicaid coverage to people who did not have dependent children or set very low limits on how much a person could earn and still qualify for coverage.

Business Insider: “The budget contains cuts to funding for Medicare and other social safety net programs. During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly promised not to cut funding to these programs.”

USA Today: “The budget proposes repealing the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid and limiting the amount of money states receive for the jointly-funded health care program for the poor. It would also end after two years the private insurance subsidies for people who don’t get coverage through a government program or an employer, while giving states grants to develop their own programs.”

STAT News: “The proposals are a hodgepodge of relatively narrow policies that take aim at various parts of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. One would reduce the amount of money doctors and hospitals are reimbursed for hospital-administered drugs under Medicare Part B; another would let some states engage in more aggressive negotiation for drugs in their Medicaid programs. Others take aim at a drug discount program for hospitals and at seniors’ out-of-pocket spending.”

New York Times: The budget once again calls for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, an effort that has been tried and failed previously and which Republican leaders have largely abandoned as a priority.”

President Trump Claims Alaska, Arizona, Maine and Kentucky Are “Big Winners” Under Graham-Cassidy…

SHOT:


CHASER:

Analysts Agree: Every State Loses Under Graham-Cassidy Affecting People’s Care. Multiple independent analyses — and even Trump’s own CMS — agree that states would be worse off if theGraham-Cassidy repeal bill passess. Over time, every state loses because Graham-Cassidy zeroes out its block grants and ratchets down its spending on the Medicaid per capita cap. This means people would not have access to the financial assistance to help lower their health care bills, and federal Medicaid funding would no longer adjust for public health emergencies, prescription drug or other cost spikes, or other unexpected increases in need.

  • Alaska stands to lose $2 billion from 2020–2027 and $14 billion over the next two decades.
  • Arizona stands to lose $19 billion from 2020–2027 and $133 billion over the next two decades.
  • Maine stands to lose $2 billion from 2020–2027 and $17 billion over the next two decades.
  • Kentucky stands to lose $11 billion from 2020–2027 and $81 billion over the next two decades.

And according to an AARP analysis, the bill’s age tax would lead to huge increases in total costs for a 60-year-old making $25,000 in each of these states:

  • $31,790 more in Alaska
  • $22,074 more in Arizona
  • $16,437 more in Maine
  • $13,118 more in Kentucky

Sad!

Fact Check: White House’s Marc Short Admits Graham-Cassidy Eliminates Protections For People With…

On Fox News Sunday this morning, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short admitted that the Graham-Cassidy health care repeal bill eliminates protections for people with pre-existing conditions.


Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, the most popular and essential provisions in the law has been coverage for pre-existing conditions. As many as half of all Americans have them, and Republicans have consistently paid lip service to continuing to ensure they will be covered. The GOP’s latest repeal bill, however, allows states to waive these protections — paving the way for insurance companies to once again discriminate against hundreds of millions of people. And as the bill heats up, so has the coverage highlighting the GOP’s plan…

Associated Press: Winners and losers in GOP’s last-ditch health overhaul

“Losers — People with health problems or with pre-existing medical conditions could be charged more if the state they live in obtains a waiver from current requirements that forbid insurers from charging higher premiums based on health status. States could also seek waivers from the current requirement that insurers cover 10 basic kinds of services, such as maternity and childbirth, or mental health and substance abuse treatment.”

The Hill: GOP takes heavy fire over pre-existing conditions

“The new ObamaCare repeal measure from Senate Republicans would give states a way to repeal protections for people with pre-existing conditions, a controversial move that opponents of the bill are denouncing.”

Vox: How Cassidy-Graham brings back preexisting conditions

“The new Republican plan to repeal Obamacare would bring preexisting conditions back to the individual market, allowing insurers to charge sick people higher premiums — or deny them coverage outright. ‘You can be charged more for a specific condition,’ says Chris Sloan, a senior manager at the health research firm Avalere, of the Cassidy-Graham plan that has begun to gain traction on Capitol Hill.”

Bloomberg: GOP Health Bill Would End Guarantee That Sick People Won’t Pay More

“Under the latest Republican bill, states could get a waiver allowing insurers to charge people more if they or a dependent have a pre-existing condition, or if they get sick and want to keep their insurance. The key provision in the bill has vague language requiring a state to first show how it ‘intends to maintain access to adequate and affordable health insurance coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.’”

Politico: Kimmel, not Cassidy, is right on health care, analysts say

“But experts say that Cassidy and Graham’s bill can’t guarantee those protections and that Kimmel’s assessment was basically accurate because of the flexibility the bill gives states to set up their own health care systems. For example, health insurers could hike premiums for patients with pre-existing conditions if their states obtain waivers from Obamacare regulations — as Kimmel said.

NPR: Latest GOP Effort To Replace Obamacare Could End Health Care For Millions

“But many experts say the bill would have an impact similar to earlier Republican proposals for repealing the Affordable Care Act. Graham-Cassidy would eliminate coverage for many low-income people who gained insurance through the Medicaid expansion and could gut protections for people with existing medical conditions because states would be encouraged to seek waivers from the federal government’s rules on what must be covered.

The Hill: Blue Cross warns GOP repeal bill ‘undermines’ pre-existing condition rules

“The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association warned against a new GOP ObamaCare bill on Wednesday, saying it would ‘undermine’ protections for pre-existing conditions. ‘The bill contains provisions that would allow states to waive key consumer protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing medical conditions,’ the association said in a statement.”

NBC News: New GOP Plan Could Sow Health Care Chaos

“Most notably, states could free up insurers to charge people more for pre-existing conditions or reduce their plan’s benefits, which could open up customers to annual or lifetime caps on coverage.”

New York Magazine: 4 Ways Graham-Cassidy Would Make the Health-Care System Far Worse

“Under Graham-Cassidy, insurers could not refuse to cover someone because of a preexisting condition, but they would be able to make coverage so exorbitantly expensive that sick people couldn’t afford it.”

Reviews Are In: Graham-Cassidy Would Devastate Alaska

The reviews are in for Graham-Cassidy, the latest iteration of the GOP’s secret, partisan health care bill which would raise costs, lower choices, eliminate protections for pre-existing protections and gut Medicaid. There is perhaps no state which would fare worse than Alaska, which could see a 65% percent reduction in federal funding and cost increases to the tune of $31,790 more per year in premiums and out of pocket costs for a 60-year old making $25,000 per year starting in 2020. Alaska Governor Bill Walker said yesterday, “Alaska would fare very, very poorly. Nothing has been brought to my attention that would increase my comfort level.”

Just take a look at the headlines…

Alaska Dispatch News: State analysis predicts a rough road for Alaska under GOP health care legislation

The Midnight Sun: Alaska would lose 38 percent of federal health care funding under Graham-Cassidy

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Medicaid directors, including Alaska’s, sign statement critical of GOP health bill

NBC KTVU 2: Alaska DHSS releases preliminary analysis into Graham-Cassidy’s impact on Alaska

State of Reform: Alaska Commission on Aging comments on Graham-Cassidy

Daily News Miner: Studies: GOP health care proposal could prove costly for Alaskans

KTVA: Mother: Healthcare repeal could mean ‘difference between life and death’

Daily News Miner: Walker airs concern about latest GOP health care bill

Protect Our Care Statement on Sen. John McCain’s Announcement in Opposition to Graham-Cassidy

“Senator McCain established a test which all Senators should follow on health care: reforms to an issue of this importance and magnitude should be addressed on a bipartisan basis and should follow regular Senate procedure including hearings and expert witnesses. Graham-Cassidy fails this test in every regard, and Senator McCain is right to oppose this latest effort at partisan repeal,” said Brad Woodhouse, Campaign Director for Protect Our Care.

“But beyond process, Senators should oppose this latest repeal effort because it would devastate our health care system. Graham-Cassidy has been called radical and the worst of all repeal bills, and rightly so. It would deny coverage to 32 million Americans, end Medicaid expansion, undermine traditional Medicaid, impose an age tax on seniors and end protections against discrimination for people with pre-existing conditions. Graham-Cassidy is bad on process as Senator McCain has rightly noted, but it would be a dumpster fire for the American health care system. It’s time for Senator Mitch McConnell to set this partisan bill aside and allow bipartisan efforts to stabilize our health care system to move forward.”

Graham-Cassidy: The Worst GOP Repeal Bill, Confirmed

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.”

A GOP Senator Held A Town Hall Yesterday: Health Care Dominated the Discussion

In Charles City, Iowa yesterday, GOP Sen. Joni Ernst held the first town hall by a Republican senator since four of her colleagues held a press conference announcing their iteration of the least popular bill in three decades, legislation which would raise costs, lower options, remove protections for pre-existing conditions and gut Medicaid. Sen. Ernst’s constituents had one topic most on their mind: health care. And perhaps unsurprisingly, they were not thrilled with the GOP’s latest plan. Maybe the Republican Senate caucus should start listening to the American people, just 24% of whom support the bill?

Des Moines Register: Joni Ernst is ‘leaning yes’ on Graham-Cassidy health care bill: “Kill the bill. Don’t kill us.”

“Many in the crowd of about 75 weren’t so sure the proposal could deliver. In one impassioned exchange, Tami Haught, a community organizer from Nashua, told Ernst that she has been living with HIV since 1996, and worried the changes proposed in the bill could make her ongoing treatment unaffordable. Before treatment breakthroughs, Haught said, she felt like she was living to die. Now, ‘I am living to live, but I need access to my care, treatment and lifesaving medications,’ she said. ‘I will die without them.’ Haught, who buys her insurance on Iowa’s individual market and said she was arrested outside Ernst’s Washington, D.C., office earlier this year during a health care protest, called Graham-Cassidy ‘one of worst versions of the health care repeal that has come out.’ ‘We will not let this tea-party GOP kill us now without a fight,’ she told Ernst. ‘Kill the bill. Don’t kill us.’”

Globe Gazette: Ernst shifts health care blame on Democrats at Charles City town hall: “Ethically, do you see it as your responsibility to ensure the state cannot offer a waiver so that they abandon me?”

“Those in attendance, however, continued to express doubts with the Graham-Cassidy bill, including Laura Wright of Decorah, who fears she will lose valuable medication under the new plan. ‘If I don’t have that, I become a cripple at 55 or 60,’ she told Ernst through tears. ‘Ethically, do you see it as your responsibility to ensure the state cannot offer a waiver so that they abandon me?’ She added that rural areas are at risk of losing a significant part of Medicaid funds through the new bill.”

KCRG: Ernst hears harsh words on health care at town hall meeting: “You have a voice, Senator. You have a voice. Show your backbone”

“Ernst invited her constituents to bring their opinions about the latest health care bill and other topics. Several of those in attendance didn’t hold back. ‘Senator Grassley said last night he couldn’t name anything good in it but he was going to vote for it because politically he had promised. That’s a piss-poor way to run a government,’ said one attendee. ‘You have a voice, Senator. You have a voice. Show your backbone,’ said another.”

TODAY’S 10 FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE LATEST GOP HEALTH CARE REPEAL (GRAHAM-CASSIDY)

It’s been another long 24 hours for the Senate’s latest secret, partisan health care repeal bill. The insurance industry announced its opposition, laying out six principles and noting the legislation fails all of them; AARP found the average older American would see a premium increase of $16,174 under this legislation, with Alaskans seeing one as high as $26,986; and after health care analysts backed his knowledge of Graham-Cassidy over Sen. Bill Cassidy’s, Jimmy Kimmel asked the bill’s author which part he was misunderstanding: the $243 billion in federal cuts, or the lack of protections for pre-existing conditions? The 10 facts you need to know are below:

  1. PRESIDENT TRUMP GETS IN ON THE ACTION. Last night, President Donald Trump tweeted that he “would not sign Graham-Cassidy if it did not include coverage of pre-existing conditions. It does!” The notion that this bill “covers” pre-existing conditions has been debunked by the Associated Press, NPR, Politico, The Hill, Vox, Bloomberg, NBC News and CNN, and was cited by Blue Cross Blue Shield in its opposition to the bill.
  2. SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY ADMITS POLITICS, NOT CONCERN OVER PEOPLE’S HEALTH CARE, IS DRIVING FORCE BEHIND BILL. “You know, I could maybe give you ten reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered,” Sen. Grassley told Iowa reporters on a conference call, “But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That’s pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill.”
  3. GRAHAM-CASSIDY THREATENS COVERAGE FOR OLDER AMERICANS, HARMS ALASKA. AARP released an analysis of the bill regarding its effects on older Americans, and the results were not pretty. Graham-Cassidy “threatens to make health care unaffordable and inaccessible for millions of older Americans,” the report found, with a 60-year-old earning $25,000 a year seeing an increase of $16,174 in their premiums. The single biggest loser is Alaska, where seniors could see an increase of $26,986 per year. A separate AARP analysis found Alaska could lose $11 billion in Medicaid funding under the legislation.
  4. INSURERS BLAST THE BILL. America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the country’s largest insurance group, came out against the bill, writing that the bill “would have real consequences on consumers and patients by further destabilizing the individual market.” Blue Cross Blue Shield offered criticism, too, writing that the legislation “would increase uncertainty in the marketplace, making coverage more expensive and jeopardizing Americans’ choice of health plans.”
  5. AMERICA’S DOCTORS DO, TOO. In a joint letter to Senate leadership, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Osteopathic Association and American Psychiatric Association — representing over 560,000 physicians — described Graham-Cassidy as “worse” than previous bills and called for its rejection in favor of bipartisan negotiations.
  6. OPPOSITION FROM GOP GOVERNORS GROWS FURTHER. Yesterday, Republican Governors Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Chris Christie of New Jersey both announced their opposition to Graham-Cassidy. They join GOP Governors Brian Sandoval (Nevada), John Kasich (Ohio), Charlie Baker (Massachusetts), Phil Scott (Vermont), Larry Hogan (Maryland) and Chris Sununu (New Hampshire) and Independent Governor Bill Walker (Alaska), who previously announced they were against the bill.
  7. JIMMY KIMMEL: WHICH PART OF YOUR TERRIBLE BILL DO I NOT UNDERSTAND? Ending a day when health care experts backed his understanding of the bill ahead of that of its co-author in a piece entitled, “Kimmel, not Cassidy, is right on health care, analysts say,” Jimmy Kimmel again took Sen. Bill Cassidy to task, asking, “Oh I get it, I don’t understand it because I’m a talk show host. Then help me out. Which part don’t I understand? The part where you cut $243 billion dollars from federal healthcare assistance? Am I not understanding the part where states would let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having pre-existing conditions?”
  8. DON’T FORGET ABOUT MEDICAID. As the Kaiser Family Foundation points out, often overlooked has been what Graham-Cassidy would do do Medicaid — namely, it would devastate the program. The bill would end all federal funding in 2026, cutting off untold people from their health insurance; massively redistribute funds, penalizing states that expanded coverage for their most vulnerable citizens while rewarding those that didn’t; and eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, preventing millions of women from getting the coverage they need.
  9. THE BILL STRIPS THE CONCESSIONS MODERATES SAID WERE NECESSARY. In a piece published this morning, Talking Points Memo reporter Alice Ollstein notes that every demand GOP moderates like Sen. Rob Portman and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said were necessary for their support, including Medicaid funding, federal dollars for opioid relief and protections for pre-existing conditions, have been removed from Graham-Cassidy.
  10. MEDICAID CUTS AND CHANGES TO THE INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE WOULD HARM AMERICAN INDIAN AND ALASKA NATIVES. According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the bill would harm American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) in two major ways. “First, Cassidy-Graham would end the ACA’s Medicaid expansion starting in 2020, but it would let AI/ANs who remain continuously enrolled in Medicaid remain covered after the expansion ends for everyone else. Any help that this exception provides would be short-lived, however. Low-income people frequently move on and off Medicaid, depending on their economic circumstances, so most AI/ANs would likely lose Medicaid eligibility within a year or two…Second, Medicaid currently pays 100 percent of the cost of services that Indian Health Service (IHS) and Tribally operated facilities provide for AI/ANs…Cassidy-Graham would enable Medicaid to also pay 100 percent of the cost of services that non-IHS and Tribally operated facilities provide for AI/ANs…which would jeopardize coverage for AI/ANs and the financial stability of IHS and Tribally operated facilities.”