CEO Statement on the Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill

Date: 
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
L.A. Care is strongly opposed to the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, which is worse for L.A. Care members – and all of California – than the Repeal and Replace bill passed by the House in May and the bill that was defeated in the Senate in August.
 

What is it?*

The Graham-Cassidy bill is a last ditch effort by several Republican Senators that lumps Medicaid and the subsidies for the Exchange into block grants in 2020, leaving it to the states to decide how to allocate funding between Medicaid and the Exchange. It moves the funding formula for the block grants to a method that penalizes the states that expanded Medicaid, like California. Due to these changes, the Medicaid expansion population would be essentially eliminated by 2027. It also eliminates the mandate for individuals to have health insurance – a move that could destabilize the Exchange.
 
This bill will fundamentally alter the federal/state partnership that has been in place since Medicaid’s inception since 1965. These changes will not only impact those who gained coverage through Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but also for mothers, children, developmentally disabled and elderly in nursing homes – all who have limited incomes. According to a recent Avelere study, California would be the hardest hit under this proposal, with a reduction in federal funding between $50 billion to $78 billion by 2027.
 
The Graham-Cassidy bill was drafted behind closed doors, has had no committee hearings, and was written without any testimony from doctors, hospitals, consumers, health plans, or any other group with a stake in the outcome. The bill is completely driven by election campaign promises regardless of the facts or the consequences to tens of millions of our fellow citizens.
 

What will the Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill do to the ACA?

  • Medicaid Expansion: Eliminates (2027)
  • Cost Sharing Subsidies: Eliminates (2020)
  • Individual Mandate: Eliminates (2020)
  • Tax Credits: Eliminates (2020)
  • Essential Health Benefits: Allows states to get a waiver to reduce 
 

What will L.A. Care do?

L.A. Care has signed on to a Fight4OurHealth Coalition opposition letter with more than 100 California community based organizations. We have gathered a coalition of 15 Medicaid health plans who opposed the previous Senate bill to come out in strong opposition to the proposal. We are also working with several prominent trade associations to ensure our members’ voices are heard in Washington D.C. 
 
I am mad. Mad that a bill of this magnitude is being considered in a rush without public input. Mad that politics is driving health care policy rather than data-driven evidence. Mad that the needs of people, particularly people living in poverty, are not at the forefront of this bill.
 
Whatever happens between now and September 30, we at L.A. Care will not be deterred from our mission to provide access to quality health for vulnerable populations and support the safety net of providers that serve them.
 
John Baackes

 
*The Cassidy-Graham-Heller-Johnson Amendment (Graham-Cassidy Bill) to H.R. 1628, the “American Health Care Act of 2017
 

About L.A. Care Health Plan

L.A. Care Health Plan is a public entity and community-accountable health plan serving residents of Los Angeles County through a variety of health coverage programs including L.A. Care Covered™,  Medi-CalL.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan. L.A. Care is a leader in developing new programs through innovative partnerships designed to provide health coverage to vulnerable populations and to support the safety net. With more than 2 million members, L.A. Care is the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan.