The Senate GOP is once again threatening to take health coverage away from millions of Americans, gut Medicaid and end guaranteed protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Call, fax, email, Tweet, share Suit Up Maine graphics and show up until Sens. King and Collins issue statements opposing Graham-Cassidy.
The GOP has launched a last-gasp effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) before September 30, the last date the Senate reconciliation process can be used to pass a repeal with just 50 votes. Lead sponsors Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) say the legislation—an amendment to the bill passed by the House in May—gives power back to the states. The Center for Budget Policy & Priorities reports it takes from the states—mightily.
The bill eliminates ACA subsidies and tax credits for middle- and low-income Americans and ends Medicaid expansion. Instead, states will receive much smaller temporary block grants that begin in 2020 and end in 2027. Overall funding for health care is slashed by $239 billion more between 2020-2026 compared to current law. The bill guts Medicaid and changes its funding formula to a per-person spending cap in 2020. These changes—along with the end of block grants—amount to nearly $300 BILLION less for health care in 2027 alone. Analysist say this will force states to reduce or eliminate health care to millions of elderly, children, people with disabilities and the poor. The bill also:
- Leaves as many as 32 million Americans without insurance.
- Removes spending restrictions for block grants, meaning states could choose to spend less—or none—to help low-income Americans buy insurance.
- Creates waivers for ACA pre-existing conditions protections for any insurance plan subsidized by block grant funding.
- Shifts millions in new costs to states, requiring a 3%-5% match for block grants. Medicaid expansion states already pay this match, but it would mean millions in new costs to Maine and other states that didn’t.
- Opens the door for insurers to deny coverage of essential medical services, such as prescription drugs, mental health care, prenatal coverage, and substance abuse treatment.
- Gives insurers leeway to charge older Americans 5 times more than younger people.
- Eliminates the individual and employer mandates, which would increase premiums by 20% and raise the number of uninsured Americans by 15 million in 2018 alone.
The Maine Center for Economic Policy says the bill would hit Maine hard:
- $115 million decrease in federal funding by 2026.
- $1 billion decrease in federal funding in 2027 alone.
- 15,000 lost jobs, most in the health care field.
- 229,000 Mainers with pre-existing conditions could lose coverage.
- 19,000 Mainers who rely on the ACA for opioid addiction treatment could lose that care.
While we await the CBO report, Republican senators are recruiting votes for Graham-Cassidy and reportedly have as many as 49 votes. They must pass the legislation by September 30, giving us 2 weeks to defeat this bill.
- Contact senators King and Collins and ask them to issue a statement NOW opposing Graham-Cassidy. Use the bullets above or follow the script from Indivisible. (Contact info below.)
- Share these infographics on your personal Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and on Collins’ and King’s pages. And check back for new ones!
- Email Collins’ chief of staff, legislative director and health staffer with Indivisible’s Trumpcare Ten Maine Toolkit.
- Use Resistbot to fax Collins and King from your phone or via Facebook.
- Join a health care Tweetstorm sponsored by FactPower, sending an image with key facts on Graham-Cassidy with just one click.
- Join the “Kill the Bill” rally hosted by Resist Central Maine at 11:30 am Tuesday, Sept. 19 at Sen. Collins’ office in Lewiston.
- Join the “Keep Your Promise Senator Collins: Protect Our Care” rally hosted by Mainers for Accountable Leadership at 10:30 am Friday, Sept. 22 at the Holiday Inn in Portland.
- Hosting a rally to support the ACA? Add your event to the Maine Resists public calendar and register it with Indivisible. Or look for another event next week near you.
- Send a letter to your senators in just a few steps via this form from Friends Committee on Legislation, which lobbies Congress to advance peace, justice, opportunity, and environmental stewardship.