The largest health care organizations in the United States really don’t like Cassidy-Graham, the last-ditch proposal from Senate Republicans to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
On Monday, 16 of the nation’s most prominent health care groups, including the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the March of Dimes, and the National Health Council, came out with a statement urging senators to oppose Cassidy-Graham when it comes up for a vote in the Senate in the coming weeks:
This bill would limit funding for the Medicaid program, roll back important essential health benefit protections, and potentially open the door to annual and lifetime caps on coverage, endangering access to critical care for millions of Americans. Our organizations urge senators to oppose this legislation.
Affordable, adequate care is vital to the patients we represent. This legislation fails to provide Americans with what they need to maintain their health. In fact, much of the proposal just repackages the problematic provisions of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which we opposed. Fortunately, the BCRA was voted down by Congress earlier this year.
Like congressional Republicans’ first two failed attempts to overhaul the current health care law, Cassidy-Graham would dramatically overhaul the ACA by capping Medicaid payments and turning the program into a block grant, giving a fixed amount of money to states to spend as they see fit.
The senators proposing the bill say it will give states more flexibility to provide health care. But the bill would also just provide less money — about $20 billion less — according to an analysis by the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Cassidy-Graham faces a steep climb, with some Republican senators including Rand Paul of Kentucky already vocally opposing it.
Graham/Cassidy keeps Obamacare and tells the states to run it. No thanks.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 18, 2017
But as with previous repeal efforts, the margin on the bill is slim. There does appear to be at least some kind of path forward, as Vox’s Dylan Scott outlined.
Though the health care organizations have come out against this effort, they also universally opposed the past two attempts by congressional Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare — which came dangerously close to passing.
This time, they are urging senators to instead continue with bipartisan hearings of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the Senate Finance Committee focused on stabilizing the current insurance markets.
“We urge Congress to continue this important bipartisan effort rather than advancing proposals that would weaken access to the care Americans need and deserve,” the groups concluded in their statement. “We stand ready to work with both sides of the aisle to build long-lasting bipartisan solutions both now and in the future.”