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Capitol Correspondence - 09.17.17

Congress Introduces 3 Health Care Proposals– High Alert Around Graham/Cassidy Proposal

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Senators Graham (R-SC), Cassidy (R-LA), Heller (R-NV) and Johnson (R-WI) introduced a troublesome final attempt at Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal combined with Medicaid changes on September 13th. Their proposal contains block grants for ACA provisions and per capita caps for Medicaid at an inadequate level – CPI-U plus one for disability services. See the full text of the bill here, and a summary of it here.

ANCOR is highly vigilant about this bill – while currently its prospects for advancement are still uncertain, this could change rapidly. Originally Senate Republican Leadership expressed skepticism of the political appetite for the bill, but it is now rumored that Republican Majority Leader McConnell is sounding out how many GOP Senators support it and has asked the Congressional Budget office (CBO) to expedite its scoring of the bill. Notably, it has obtained the support of Senator McCain (R-AZ), who was one of the three crucial votes against the last attempt at a repeal and replace bill. It must be noted the bill faces procedural constraints, not the least of which is that in order to use the reconciliation process – which allows a simple majority voice – the Senators only have until the end of September to review and vote on this bill.

It is important that Congress know we will not support legislation that would harm our services – send an email to your Senators about the Graham/Cassidy Bill through our action alert here!

Additionally, Democratic Senators have begun to show interest in moving away from the ACA with two new proposals:

  • The first is Senator Sanders’ (I-VT) “Medicare for All” bill, which is a single-payer proposal. The bill would not only expand Medicare coverage but also eliminate deductibles, copays and premiums as well as remove private insurance from Medicare. Read a brief primer here, and the full bill here.
  • The second is Senator Schatz’s (D-HI) “Medicaid for All” proposal. While the proposal is still being developed and details are not readily available, it would expand Medicaid to those who wanted it through a buy-in option that is similar to the “public option” proposed by the Democratic party in 2008. Additionally, it would increase Medicaid provider rates to match Medicare rates. Pending a bill being introduced, here is an outline.