Earlier this week, Medicare Rights, in partnership with the Center for Medicare Advocacy, sent a letter to Senate leadership strongly opposing the newest legislation, known as the “Graham-Cassidy” bill, to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and cut and cap Medicaid. Despite outcry from health care providers, insurers, consumer groups, patient advocates, and the American people, the Senate appears poised to vote on this harmful bill next week.
The Graham-Cassidy bill retains many of the components of recent failed attempts to undo the ACA, but increases problems for state budgets. Most states would lose significant funding for both their Medicaid programs and individual Marketplace coverage. The bill also eliminates guaranteed protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions and threatens to steeply increase costs for adults ages 50-64. Access to home and community-based services and nursing home care made available through Medicaid is also at grave risk under the Graham-Cassidy plan.
It’s not only the substance of the bill that is deeply concerning. The process the Senate is using to write and advance the Graham-Cassidy bill is both secretive and rushed, with no true legislative hearings, bipartisan negotiations, or input from the public. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the primary source of objective analysis on the impact major legislation, has not been given the time to estimate all of the bill’s effects before the anticipated vote. Because of this, the Senate could very well vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill without knowing how it will affect health insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs for millions of Americans.
Other independent analyses suggest that the Graham-Cassidy bill will slash insurance coverage by 15 million in 2018, rising to 32 million in a decade. In addition, premiums will rise by 20% in the individual market, and those with pre-existing conditions, including many older adults or people with disabilities who are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid will be at risk of not being able to afford care.
Medicare Rights is steadfastly opposed to the Graham-Cassidy plan and any bill that would lead to millions of Americans losing health care coverage. Follow the Medicare Rights Center on Twitter (@medicarerights and Facebook for our latest reactions to the health care debate.
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Call 1-866-426-2631 and tell your Senator the only acceptable action on health reform right now is to stop this process and restart bipartisan conversations.
This article made possible by generous support from the Retirement Research Foundation