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CCTS Newsletter | September 22, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Andres Bachelet
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Dale Dirks and Dane Christiansen

September 22, 2017

Republican leadership in the Senate is backing a new plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The proposal is led by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI). The emergence (and surprising popularity) of this proposal has scuttled ongoing bipartisan effort by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to craft a narrow legislative package focused on stabilizing insurance markets. Senate Republicans have until October 1st to pass the new repeal package due to the fact that any related bill considered after that point will require 60 votes to pass instead of a simple 51 vote majority.


The new “Graham-Cassidy” proposal is more extreme than other repeal proposals that the Senate recently voted down. The crux of the plan limits healthcare access for individuals with pre-existing conditions by pricing many out of insurance markets and redistributes (while reducing) healthcare money to reward states that did not expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Graham-Cassidy has been met with strong criticism by patient, physician, and hospital groups. The objections of the chronic disease community revolve around the facts that the proposal would:


·         Allow insurance companies to charge more for those individuals with pre-existing health conditions

·         Allow states to more easily opt out of requiring quality health insurance options and comprehensive benefits

·         Expand the ability for individuals to purchase low quality health insurance benefits in lieu of more comprehensive coverage

·         Eliminate the individual and employer mandates

·         Dramatically reduce the federal commitment to Medicaid expansion

·         Eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund


Community advocates are urging their Senators to vote “no” on the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill. These outreach efforts are focused on six Republicans considered potential swing votes:


·         Susan Collins (R-ME)

·         John McCain (R-AZ)

·         Jerry Moran (R-KS)

·         Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

·         Rand Paul (R-KY)

·         Dan Sullivan (R-AK)