Statement on Graham-Cassidy Amendment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 18, 2017
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Jeff Van Ness, (202) 204-7515
STATEMENT OF ACAP CEO MARGARET A. MURRAY ON CASSIDY-GRAHAM AMENDMENT
WASHINGTON—Margaret A. Murray, CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), made the following statement on a bill currently being considered on Capitol Hill authored by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) which would convert most public funding of Medicaid and Marketplace programs to a block grant and allow states to opt out of many consumer protections established by the Affordable Care Act:
“We are disappointed to see that the Senate is repeating – and in some ways, doubling down on – many of the same mistakes as it made with the Better Care Reconciliation Act. As with previous efforts to overhaul the health care system, ACAP has compared the language of the Cassidy-Graham proposal against a set of stated principles surrounding health reform, which we have shared with Congress before.
“The bill would end the Medicaid expansion, convert the rest of the program to a per-capita allotment and then underfund those allotments. Compared with current funding, the cuts would amount to more than $80 billion nationwide in 2026 alone. What’s more, a funding cliff would kick in the next year as the block grant ends—and cuts would increase to nearly $300 billion in a single year. This would have a devastating effect on health coverage for more than 74 million low-income Americans, 20 million of whom receive services through ACAP-member Safety Net Health Plans.
“What’s more, the bill allows states to opt out of a wide range of consumer protections put in place by the Affordable Care Act, ranging from essential health benefits to community-rating provisions. While we agree with Senators Cassidy and Graham that the costs of health care for consumers and others is an issue that needs to be addressed, simply allowing for coverage to be pared back is not the solution.
“Given its erosion of coverage and consumer protections, its steep funding cuts, and the likelihood that it will be voted on without a full analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, we must oppose this bill.
“We’ve seen what’s possible with health reform; there have been promising talks in the Senate HELP Committee around stabilizing Marketplaces and bipartisan progress around the must-pass funding extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), for which no new allotments exist after the end of the month. We urge the Senate in the strongest possible terms to turn away from partisan politics and instead build on the promising work around CHIP and the HELP committee.”
ACAP represents 60 nonprofit Safety Net Health Plans in 29 states, which collectively serve more nearly twenty million people enrolled in Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other public health programs. For more information, visit www.communityplans.net.
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