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By September 21, 2017No Comments

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.”