Take Action Today!
On Wednesday, September 13th, Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced a new plan (also known as the Graham-Cassidy bill) to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare). In an effort to redistribute power to states, the bill would eliminate many of the ACA’s provisions such as the Individual and Employer Mandates, while replacing much of the ACA’s expanded funding with a block grant that states would use to implement programs of their own design. The block grant would be funded by money taken from Medicaid and the subsidies that the ACA provides to assist low-income Americans purchase insurance. Medicaid and subsidy funding would be cut significantly. Unlike the ACA which has no end date on subsidies, this legislation would completely defund ACA subsidies by 2027. To see how your state would be affected by the Graham-Cassidy bill, click here.
Like many health organizations and many in Congress, the Hydrocephalus Association cannot satisfactorily evaluate the impact of this legislation on our members and their families. No hearings have been held on the legislation and the Congressional Budget Office has not released a score on the Graham-Cassidy bill to show the impact on coverage, affordability, or the deficit and/or premiums. This information is unlikely to be available prior to the Senate vote, which is being scheduled for next week to take advantage of the “Reconciliation rules” that permit passage with a simply majority.
Here’s what we do know:
- Medicaid will be weakened and cut by billions of dollars:Under the Graham-Cassidy bill, federal funding would be $160 billion less than current law. Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia would lose funding. These cuts translate into millions of Americans, especially low-income and seniors, losing current health coverage.
- Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) will no longer be required: Under the Graham-Cassidy bill, states approve plans that could leave individuals with hydrocephalus with inadequate coverage.
- Eliminate or weaken protections for pre-existing condition: Under the Graham-Cassidy bill, older citizens and individuals with preexisting conditions, including hydrocephalus, could face substantially higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs; the bill also would permit the restoration of annual and lifetime insurance limits that were eliminated by the ACA.
Based on the information patient advocacy and provider groups, including American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and American Lung Association, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Association for Retired People (AARP) have all announced their opposition to this legislation. The Hydrocephalus Association shares these concerns about acting hurriedly on legislation that could have substantial impacts on our community.
What you can do to make a difference:
Read up on the current bill to inform yourself on its content and the issues that are important to you. You can read news sources you trust, listen to your state level elected officials who will provide information on the impact to your state, and visit other patient advocacy organizations.
THEN, HA urges you to contact your Senators (or call (202) 224-3121) and share your healthcare stories and any of your concerns! Let’s encourage our legislators to take the time needed to create a bipartisan healthcare reform that does not disproportionately impact those living with chronic medical conditions.
MAKE YOUR CALLS TODAY!
TIME IS RUNNING OUT TO BE A PART OF THIS IMPORTANT VOTE.