Wednesday, September 20, 2017

APA Calls for Rejection of Latest Republican Effort to Repeal ACA

APA is urging members to contact their U.S. senators and voice their opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill—the latest effort by Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill, which was drafted by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and unveiled last week, appears to be gaining traction in the Senate. 

“This legislation … will lead to millions of Americans losing their health care coverage,” APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., said Tuesday in a press release. “We are particularly concerned that this bill would make drastic cuts to the Medicaid program and roll back expansion, which has allowed 1.3 million Americans with serious mental illness and 2.8 million Americans with substance use disorder, to gain coverage for the first time. This bill harms our most vulnerable patients.”

Among its many proposals, the bill would allow states to change what qualifies as an essential health benefit, eliminating guaranteed coverage of substance use disorders and mental health treatment services. It would also stop the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion and cost-sharing subsidies and instead put that money into block grants that states could use to design their own health care systems.

“The APA is ready to work with members of both parties to craft a bipartisan solution that stabilizes the health insurance market and ensures Americans have access to quality, affordable health care,” Levin said.

Last week APA joined with five other medical specialty organizations representing more than 560,000 physicians in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schumer to oppose the bill. The organizations noted that “a similar proposal was put forth by these two senators in July. Based on our analysis, the revised proposal may actually be worse than the original.”

The Republicans are up against a tight deadline of September 30 to secure the 50 votes needed to pass the measure using the budget reconciliation process. After this date, they would need 60 votes to pass the legislation. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Monday announced that while it will aim to have a preliminary assessment of the Graham-Cassidy bill by early next week, it will not be able to provide point estimates of the bill’s effects on the deficit, health insurance coverage, or premiums for at least several weeks.

APA members are urged to call and email their senators today and register their opposition to the bill through a special portal on the APA website.

(Image: iStock/usschools)


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