This week on Capitol Hill, there’s been a lot of talk about the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, the Republicans’ latest scheme to repeal Obamacare.
I know that it’s hard to keep track of all the proposals the Republicans in Washington have been floating around; however, according to every report I’ve read, this may be, by far, the most harmful plan yet.
According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, if Graham-Cassidy becomes law, those with low to moderate incomes, Medicaid recipients (read: seniors, people with disabilities and families with children), and people with pre-existing conditions will be the most negatively impacted. Based on Congressional Budget Office calculations of a previous measure, it’s estimated that a repeal-and-replace plan like Graham-Cassidy could mean 32 million people would lose healthcare coverage.
That’s clearly unacceptable – and that many people losing health coverage simply means that health care costs will skyrocket for everyone as health care providers provide more and more uncompensated care. If that’s not concerning enough, the federal government will give states block grants and control of how the money is spent, the power to determine what will be covered and how much that coverage will cost. There are several problems with this. Among them, block grants would disappear after 2026, leaving states to fully cover the cost, unless Congress reauthorizes the funding. Even worse, block grants will give state leaders the power to decide whether or not insurance companies have to cover pre-existing conditions, mental health care, substance abuse and maternity care.
I am afraid of what Texas’ leaders would do with the money. Our current governor has been very vocal in his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and has refused to expand Medicaid, which would insure another 1 million Texans. That’s compounded by the fact that our state has a long history of failure when it comes to healthcare.
- Two years ago, Texas Republicans directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to slash spending for acute therapy services for kids, resulting in thousands of children being denied access to speech, occupational and physical therapy.
- In 2003, Republicans passed a bill that made it harder for lower-income working families to get CHIP health coverage for their kids. As a result, in the three years after the bill was signed into law, 215,729 children lost access to their health coverage. To add insult to injury, the bill required the privatization of the implementation of the program, at a cost over nearly $1 billion that resulted in scandal and fiscal mismanagement.
It’s important to point out that it’s not just Democrats who oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill; many Republicans do too. Several Republican and Democratic governors have sent a letter calling on Senate leadership to shelve the Graham-Cassidy measure and instead work toward a bipartisan solution.
I hope more Republicans lend their voice in opposition and soon. This bill is on the fast track.
What can you do to help stop this assault on health care? Join me in contacting Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to tell them to oppose Graham-Cassidy.
This is a bad bill for Texas and for people across our nation. Let’s make our voices heard.