Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Millions to Lose Health Coverage Under Senate Health Bill, CBO Predicts

The Senate Republicans' proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would increase the number of people without health insurance by 15 million in 2018 and 22 million people by 2026, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis released on Monday. APA responded promptly to the news, renewing its call for the U.S. Senate to reject the bill known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

“The CBO report highlights in stark terms the negative impact of the Senate proposal. The bill would reverse much progress in recent years by rolling back Medicaid expansion, capping the Medicaid program, and allowing states to waive critical essential health benefits,” APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., said in a press release. “These changes would be particularly devastating to the millions of Americans in need of mental health and substance use treatment.”

The CBO estimates that by 2026, the BCRA would leave 49 million people uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law. Last month, the CBO estimated that the American Health Care Act (AHCA)—which narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives in May—would leave some 14 million more people uninsured in 2018 than under the current law and 23 million more by 2026.

The Senate’s health bill would also cut the federal deficit by $321 billion over the decade, according to the CBO. “The largest savings would come from reductions in outlays for Medicaid—spending on the program would decline in 2026 by 26 percent in comparison with what CBO projects under current law—and from changes to the [ACA’s] subsidies for nongroup health insurance,” according to the analysis.

Earlier Monday, APA released a three-page fact sheet summarizing how Medicaid changes could impact access to and the delivery of mental health and substance use disorder treatment services, among other provisions.

“In less than a year after passing comprehensive mental health reform on a bipartisan, bicameral basis, the Senate is now working to pass harmful legislation that will take a significant step backward on the advances to treat those with mental illness and substance use disorders,” Levin continued. “We strongly urge the Senate to reject this deeply flawed proposal.”

The Senate vote on the bill has been delayed due to insufficient support until after the July 4 recess. However, calls and emails expressing concerns are still important as we need to keep the pressure on key senators over the recess.

Your Voice Counts
APA urges you to contact your senators and speak out against the Senate health care reform bill. APA has created a dedicated tool to make it easy for you to voice your opinion via Facebook, Twitter, or phone.

(Image: iStock/carterdayne)


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