Graham-Cassidy Bill Again Pushes ACA Repeal & Threatens Health Coverage for Elders

Graham-Cassidy Bill Again Pushes ACA Repeal & Threatens Health Coverage for Elders

Last week Senators Graham and Cassidy released another bill to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act despite the current bipartisan efforts underway to craft legislation that protects people’s health coverage now and in the future. The Graham-Cassidy bill would cause millions of people to lose coverage, dramatically restructure and deeply cut Medicaid, and increase out-of-pocket costs for individual market consumers.

Below is a statement by our partners, Justice in Aging, also reflecting our views of this latest damaging partisan attempt to sabotage the health care of millions of Americans. For more information, also see the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities’ article, Like Other ACA Repeal Bills, Cassidy-Graham Plan Would Add Millions to Uninsured, Destabilize Individual Market.

 

Senators Graham and Cassidy released yet another ACA repeal and replace bill that would have devastating consequences for the health and well-being of older Americans. Like the other harmful proposals that consumers, advocates, and the majority of Americans soundly rejected (and also all failed in the Senate), Graham-Cassidy would strip coverage from millions, gut the Medicaid program, and undermine the ACA’s most popular consumer protections.

By terminating Medicaid expansion and imposing per capita caps and block grants, this proposal would cut Medicaid funding by hundreds of billions over the next decade. Millions of older adults and people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid to live in their homes and communities would be at risk of losing coverage as states are forced to cut services.

Graham-Cassidy would wreak havoc in the individual health insurance market as well, hitting older adults and people with limited income the hardest. The proposal eliminates the premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions that make coverage affordable. On top of that, states would have the option to waive many of the ACA’s most vital consumer protections and allow insurers to charge people more based on health status and cover fewer benefits. Older adults would face unaffordable premiums in a market that divides the young and healthy from those who have pre-existing conditions. Many of those who could afford the premiums would be underinsured facing bare-bones coverage and skyrocketing deductibles.

We commend the Senators who have begun to work in a bipartisan manner to ensure that older Americans have affordable access to the coverage and care they need in 2018 and beyond. We call on them and their colleagues to reject this proposal and move forward to improve the health and well-being of all Americans.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.