The Senate may soon consider a bill by Senators Graham and Cassidy that would substantially change the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If it passed, it could then be considered by the House in an expedited manner. The UMDF is opposed to this legislation. Many who suffer with mitochondrial disease have historically experienced difficulties obtaining affordable health care coverage. The ACA made significant and historic progress to address this problem. The Graham-Cassidy bill would reverse much of this progress.
We have the following specific objections to the Graham-Cassidy bill.
The bill would eliminate in 2019 all federal Medicaid funds for the “expansion” adults now covered by Medicaid in 31 states. Similarly, it would terminate the Premium Support Tax Credits used by many lower and middle income persons to defray the cost of purchasing health insurance. Many individuals afflicted by mitochondrial disease would lose coverage as a result.
In lieu of these repealed programs, the bill would provide a block grant of funds to the states to implement health care coverage programs. These block grants would represent a cut in total resources available for health care services as compared to the ACA – Medicaid expansion states would receive fewer resources and the requirements are so vague that there is no assurance that individuals helped under the ACA would receive meaningful support.
What is clear is that a state could seek a waiver to allow block grant funds to be used in a manner that would discriminate against individuals with mitochondrial disease. Insurers could be allowed to return to the practice of charging individuals with pre-existing conditions unlimited higher premium amounts. And such waivers could also allow insurers to sell plans that did not provide full essential health benefits coverage.
Finally a new “Per Capita Cap” approach to Medicaid would slowly squeeze resources from the program over time, which would endanger the care provided to children with mitochondrial disease who often qualify for the program on the basis of poverty, disability or both. And states could even elect a block grant approach that would eliminate basic coverage protections for children.
We urge you to tell your Senators to vote against the Graham-Cassidy Legislation.
Send them a message here!