Federal Health News, Graham-Cassidy, Health Care

Taking a closer look at the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill

It may seem like deja vu, but it’s not. Once again, health care repeal is back on the table.
After July’s defeat of the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, the Senate is back AGAIN with another damaging proposal that would jeopardize health care coverage for up to 32 million people including thousands of Oregonians. What’s different about this bill? So far, not much.
The Graham-Cassidy bill contains many of the same harmful as previous repeal bills. Like the others, this proposal also deeply cuts Medicaid, eliminates or weaken protections for those with pre-existing conditions and increases out-of-pocket costs.
If passed, Graham-Cassidy would:
  • Eliminate or weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions by allowing states to charge higher premiums based on health and would waive the requirement that insurers cover essential health benefits like mental health and maternity care.
  • Eliminate the ACA’s marketplace subsidies and enhanced matching rate for the Medicaid expansion and replace with a block grant that would disappear in 2026 and contain NO requirement to offer low- and moderate-income people coverage or financial assistance.
  • Cap and cut federal Medicaid per-beneficiary funding for seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children.
  • Eventually result in larger coverage losses than under proposals to repeal ACA’s major coverage provisions without replacement. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has previously estimated that repeal-without-replace would cause 32 million people to lose coverage. The Cassidy-Graham bill would likely lead to greater numbers of uninsured after 2026 because it would not only eliminate block grant funding but also make federal funding cuts to the rest of the Medicaid program (outside of the expansion) under its per capita cap.
The goal of any type of reform should involve improving the health of our communities. Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, more than 400,000 Oregonians have gained health coverage and access to valuable health care services. This means more people who are more likely to use primary care services instead of the ER for their care. In the long-run, this means healthier and more productive members of our communities. Unfortunately, Graham-Cassidy falls far short of this and is more of the same legislation we’ve seen over the previous months.