Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson is the Most Destructive Health Care Repeal Yet

(BOSTON-MA) -- Statement of Robert Restuccia, executive director of Community Catalyst, regarding today’s Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicaid.

“Today’s Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson health care repeal plan is nothing more an attempt to disguise a partisan effort to fast-track a rewrite of the rules that govern the availability and affordability of health insurance that will affect millions of people. Yet again, Republicans are rushing ahead with a repeal bill without careful consideration of the impact on families, health care providers, state budgets or the economy. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has yet to release its score of the bill, which they said will not include numbers of how many people would lose coverage or the impact on health insurance premiums in time for the both branches of Congress to meet the September 30 deadline to vote on it.

“While there is no full CBO score of Graham-Cassidy, the bill is far more radical and destructive than previous failed repeal bills, which CBO analysis showed would have far-reaching, devastating consequences. Under Graham-Cassidy, as many as 32 million Americans could lose health care coverage due to the elimination of Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax credits to purchase health care coverage and the Medicaid expansion. Millions would see huge spikes in their premiums, including people with preexisting conditions who would lose protections and could face surcharges in the tens of thousands of dollars for pregnancy, cancer treatment and other chronic conditions.

“One of the most shameful aspects of this bill is the harm it would do to our most vulnerable – children, people with disabilities, seniors, people with substance use disorders and our nation’s veterans – who stand to lose coverage through deep, permanent cuts to Medicaid that would grow over time. States would lose billions in federal funding and absorb $4 trillion dollars in health care costs. This would decimate already-strained state budgets and force additional painful cuts at the state and local level.

“Those who know health care best – dozens of physician, patient, consumer, senior groups and hospitals have all come out against this bill. Seven Republican governors from across the country have stated their opposition to it, while others have expressed deep concerns. The Medicaid directors from all 50 states oppose the plan. We hope courage and common sense will prevail and that senators will prioritize the broad needs of all of their constituents over a cynical appeal to their base.

“Without a full understanding of how this bill would affect their own constituents, it is irresponsible and unconscionable for any member of the Senate Finance Committee, let alone any senator, to support this bill. We urge senators to vote no on Graham-Cassidy and to renew efforts to forge a bipartisan solution to make health care better, more affordable, accessible and equitable.”

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About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.

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