The latest SenateRepublicanattempt to repeal theAffordable Care Actand enact sweeping reforms to the American health care system has generated intense opposition from the very health care providers, patient groups and insurance companies that would be forced to adapt to the changes envisioned by the legislation.
The bill, sponsored byGOPSens.Bill Cassidy of Louisiana andLindsey Graham of South Carolina, wouldundo most of the Affordable Care Actand radically refashion the Medicaid program byshrinking the budgetsfor federal health care programs and turning over the remaining money to states, which would have to devise their own new health care systems.
The bill alsounderminesthe Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The results would be millions fewer people with health coverage. TheSenateis slated to vote on the bill next week.
The health care sector is, to put it mildly, not interested. The following are excerpts from statements issued by virtually every major organization representing the interests of the health care system and its patients.
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Medical Association
American Hospital Association
Federation of American Hospitals
America’s Health Insurance Plans
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
“While we sometimes disagree on important issues in health care, we are in total agreement that Americans deserve a stable healthcare market that provides access to high-quality care and affordable coverage for all. The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill does not move us closer to that goal. The Senate should reject it. ...
“Health care is too important to get wrong. Let’s take the time to get it right. Let’s agree to find real, bipartisan solutions that make health care work for every American.”
American Medical Association
“On behalf of the physician and medical student members of the American Medical Association (AMA), I am writing to express our opposition to the Cassidy-Graham-Heller-Johnson Amendment to H.R. 1628, the ‘American Health Care Act of 2017.’ We also urge the Senate to reject any other legislative efforts that would jeopardize health insurance coverage for tens of millions of Americans.”
American Academy of Pediatrics
“As a pediatrician, I am fearful for my patients and the uncertain future they would face under Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy’s (R-La.) health care proposal, currently set for a vote next week in the U.S. Senate. As president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I must speak out against this dangerous, ill-conceived policy on behalf of our 66,000 pediatrician, pediatric surgical specialist and pediatric medical subspecialist members, and stop it from advancing.
“This bill may be disguised under a different name, but it contains the same dangerous policies as the legislation that failed to advance out of the Senate earlier this summer. In fact, Graham-Cassidy goes even further in its attacks on Medicaid.” [Press release]
American Academy of Family Physicians American College of Physicians American Academy of Pediatrics American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Osteopathic Association
American Psychiatric Association
“The undersigned organizations are concerned with the proposal introduced today by Senators Cassidy and Graham, which we believe will have a negative impact on affordable coverage for patients across our nation. We would note that a similar proposal was put forth by these two Senators in July. Based on our analysis, the revised proposal may actually be worse than the original.
“Our organizations, which represent over 560,000 physicians, oppose the new Graham-Cassidy bill and its approach to reforming our health care system. The proposal fails to protect the health care coverage and consumer protections available under current law. Additionally, it would create a health care system built on state-by-state variability that would exacerbate inequities in coverage and most likely place millions of vulnerable individuals at risk of losing their health care coverage.”
American College of Physicians
“We believe that the substantial cuts to Medicaid authorized by this legislation would cause a significant increase in the number of uninsured patients and that it would undermine essential benefits provided for patients insured under current law. We urge you to set aside this legislation and instead allow the Senate to consider any improvements to the ACA, through a more deliberative process of regular order, in which hearings are held to solicit the advice of health care experts and stakeholders, with any such improvements considered in a bipartisan manner in which both parties may offer amendments.”
American Psychological Association
“The American Psychological Association and its affiliated APA Practice Organization today expressed strong opposition to the Graham-Cassidy proposal to repeal and replace major portions of the current health insurance system, urging the Senate to reject the bill and resume bipartisan discussions of proposals to improve health care, stabilize the health insurance marketplaces, lower the cost of health care and extend coverage to more of the millions of Americans still without it.”
National Council for Behavioral Health
“Last week, the ugly health care debate reared its head again on Capitol Hill with the introduction of a new bill by Senators Graham (R-SC), Cassidy (R-LA), Heller (R-NV) and Johnson (R-WI) to drastically cut Medicaid and other federal health funds to states.
“This bill may go by a different name than previous efforts to reshape the health care system, but it maintains ― and even worsens ― the devastating provisions from those bills that led to a massive constituent outcry earlier this summer. It’s the same pig with different lipstick.”
American Hospital Association
“We believe that coverage could be at risk for tens of millions of Americans under the Graham-Cassidy proposal. We continue to urge senators to work in a bipartisan manner to address the challenges facing our health care system.
“This proposal would erode key protections for patients and consumers and does nothing to stabilize the insurance market now or in the long term. In addition, the block grant to provide support for the expansion population expires in 2026, thereby eliminating coverage for millions of Americans.
“For these reasons, we oppose the Graham-Cassidy plan.”
Federation of American Hospitals
“The Graham-Cassidy proposal could disrupt access to health care for millions of the more than 70 million Americans who depend on Medicaid and the marketplaces for their health coverage.
“It is time to move on to secure the health coverage for those who have it, and find solutions for those who don’t.
“We urge the Senate to reject legislation that fails to move us forward in assuring Americans access to affordable health care and coverage.”
Children’s Hospital Association
“The nation’s children’s hospitals stand in strong opposition to the most recent legislative proposal introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis. Their legislation would slash funding for Medicaid, the nation’s largest health care program for children, by one-third, reducing access and coverage for more than 30 million children in the program. Furthermore, the legislation weakens important consumer safeguards, and as a result, millions of children in working families would no longer be assured that their private insurance covers the most basic of services without annual and lifetime limits and regardless of any underlying medical condition. This bill would have devastating consequences for children and families.”
Catholic Health Association of the United States
“The Senate is expected to vote next week on legislation introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) & Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and restructure the Medicaid program.
“I urge you to contact your Senators today and tell them to:
“Vote ‘NO’ on the Graham-Cassidy legislation to repeal and replace ACA—which eliminates Medicaid expansion coverage, premium tax credits, and cost-sharing reduction subsidies and replaces them with state block grants.
“Oppose the complete restructuring and deep funding reductions to the Medicaid program in the bill — capping & cutting federal Medicaid funding, through both per capita caps and block grants, fundamentally undermines the health care safety net and our ability to serve beneficiaries.
“Instead enact bipartisan legislation to stabilize the individual insurance market.”
Association of American Medical Colleges
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has continually advocated for a number of key principles as fundamental cornerstones of any successful health care system. These principles include offering high-quality, affordable health insurance to all; preserving and fortifying the safety net through Medicaid and other policies; and encouraging innovation in the delivery system, among others. The GCHJ legislation does not meet these principles, as it repeals the individual and employer mandates, repeals Medicaid expansion, and caps traditional Medicaid funding. Under this legislation, the number of uninsured patients nationwide will increase dramatically and important existing patient protections will be at risk. Importantly, the GCHJ proposal, which represents a complete overhaul of the health care system, should be fully and adequately examined by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) before any further action is taken.”
America’s Essential Hospitals
“Throughout this year’s health care debate, America’s Essential Hospitals stood by its position that policy changes must maintain coverage for those who have it, preserve access, and protect hospitals that care for low-income and other vulnerable people.
“While we do not yet have a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score for the Graham-Cassidy proposal, the plan appears to violate those core principles.”
American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living
“There is no question that this bill will undermine care for vulnerable seniors and individuals with disabilities who rely on Medicaid for their daily long term care. Most of the one million people who reside in nursing centers rely on Medicaid, as well as tens of thousands of seniors in America’s assisted living communities.
“As Baby Boomers increasingly need long term services and supports in coming years, our seniors deserve better than an unstable and underfunded safety net. We urge Senators to oppose this legislation and protect Medicaid access for seniors and people with disabilities.”
“Healthcare in the United States should be of the highest quality, affordable and accessible to all Americans. At Cleveland Clinic, it is our mission to deliver the best possible care to all the patients we serve. The proposed Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill does not support what our organization thinks healthcare in America should be, therefore we oppose the pending legislation. As an organization, we will continue to communicate with our policymakers to implement changes that have a positive impact on our nation’s healthcare system.” [Blog post]
National Association of Medicaid Directors
“Any effort of this magnitude needs thorough discussion, examination and analysis, and should not be rushed through without proper deliberation. The legislative proposal would not even have a full CBO score until after its scheduled passage, which should be the bare minimum required for beginning consideration. With only a few legislative days left for the entire process to conclude, there clearly is not sufficient time for policymakers, Governors, Medicaid Directors, or other critical stakeholders to engage in the thoughtful deliberation necessary to ensure successful long-term reforms.”
State Insurance Commissioners
Current commissioners: California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington
Former commissioners: California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin, District of Columbia
“As current and former state insurance commissioners, we urge you to oppose the health care repeal legislation that has been proposed by Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham. Instead, we ask that you work toward a bipartisan bill that would improve market stability. At a time when state insurance markets urgently need greater stability and predictability, this bill would go in the wrong direction. ...
“The Cassidy-Graham bill would increase the number of people without health coverage and severely disrupt states’ individual insurance markets, with sharp premium increases and insurer exits likely to occur in the short term and over time. ...
“This series of disruptions ― over the short, medium, and longer terms ― would batter state insurance markets and the consumers that they serve. While we are strong supporters of state flexibility and state regulation of health insurance, the Cassidy-Graham bill puts states in an impossible position.”
America’s Health Insurance Plans
“We believe that legislative proposals that would reform and affect the coverage and care of millions of Americans should meet certain principles….
“The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal fails to meet these guiding principles, and would have real consequences on consumers and patients by further destabilizing the individual market; cutting Medicaid; pulling back on protections for pre-existing conditions; not ending taxes on health insurance premiums and benefits; and potentially allowing government-controlled, single payer health care to grow.
“While we cannot support this proposal, we will keep working to find the right solutions that reflect the commitment we all share: affordable coverage and high-quality care for every American. By working together, we can improve health care and deliver the coverage and care that every American deserves.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
“Although we support providing states with greater flexibility in shaping health care options for their residents, we share the significant concerns of many health care organizations about the proposed Graham-Cassidy bill. The bill contains provisions that would allow states to waive key consumer protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing medical conditions. The legislation reduces funding for many states significantly and would increase uncertainty in the marketplace, making coverage more expensive and jeopardizing Americans’ choice of health plans. Legislation must also ensure adequate funding for Medicaid to protect the most vulnerable.”
Alliance of Community Health Plans
“The GrahamCassidy-Heller-Johnson legislation being considered by the Senate would jeopardize the health of millions of working Americans and we cannot support the bill...
“This proposal would significantly impact the health of our communities, hurting our neighbors, friends and employees. It puts in jeopardy the coverage gains won over the past few years and the critical consumer safeguards provided by essential health benefits and protections afforded by a ban on pre-existing conditions.”
Association for Community Affiliated Plans “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. ... “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.” [Press release]
Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions “Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions believe that changes to our nation’s health care laws should increase access to high-quality, affordable care and coverage for as many people as possible. The Graham-Cassidy bill now being considered in the United States Senate does not meet any of those tests. ... “Helping people who are uninsured to get and afford coverage, and ensuring those who have it can continue to afford it, should be the priority for any proposals around health reform. Policymakers should ensure that any proposals maintain or expand coverage, provide incentives for high quality, and tackle affordability.” [Press release]
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Diabetes Association
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Lutheran Services in America
March of Dimes
National Health Council
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Organization for Rare Diseases
Volunteers of America
“Sixteen patient and provider groups oppose the proposal put forward by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) that will negatively impact patients’ access to adequate and affordable health coverage and care.
“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.”
“Older Americans care deeply about access to and affordability of health care. They need and deserve affordable premiums, lower out-of-pocket costs, and coverage they can count on as they age. On behalf of our nearly 38 million members in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP is urging the Senate to reject the Graham/Cassidy/Heller/Johnson bill because it would do precisely the opposite. Overall, the Graham/Cassidy/Heller/Johnson bill would increase health care costs for older Americans with an age tax, decrease coverage, and undermine preexisting condition protections. In addition, this bill would jeopardize the ability of older Americans and people with disabilities to stay in their own homes as they age and threaten coverage for individuals in nursing homes.”
“While this piece of legislation has a new title and makes new promises, it is more of the same threats to Medicaid and those who rely on it for a life in the community. The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal cuts and caps the Medicaid program. The loss of federal funding is a serious threat to people with disabilities and their families who rely on Medicaid for community based supports.”
“Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, today strongly opposed the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal, the latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This bill would leave tens of millions uninsured and fundamentally restructure and gut the Medicaid program. It would also allow states to waive key consumer protections and coverage requirements….
Consumers Union urged lawmakers to reject this latest partisan proposal and stay focused on bipartisan efforts in Senate committees to stabilize and strengthen the insurance markets.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.