Latest Republican Effort To Repeal and Replace Obamacare Would Be Worse For Maine Than Just a Straight Repeal, Study Says

Latest Republican Effort To Repeal and Replace Obamacare Would Be Worse For Maine Than Just a Straight Repeal, Study Says Courtesy of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

An analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that the Republicans last-ditch effort to repeal and replace Obamacare would — if passed — likely be “even more damaging than a straight repeal-without-replace bill” (which the Congressional Budget Office has previously estimated would leave 32 million people without health insurance).

According to the report, the new bill, H.R. 1628, sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) would cost Maine $115 million in federal dollars in 2026 and an additional $1 billion in 2027, risking health care for hundreds of thousands of Maine.

This loss, according to the report, would result from the new bill collapsing the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies and replacing them with “inadequate block grants” designed to give states freedom to implement their own healthcare system. But because those grants aren’t based on fixed percentages, they don’t factor in a state’s actual healthcare costs, which critics say would leave high-cost states like Maine and Massachusetts much worse off.

“The block grant would not adjust based on changes in states’ funding needs, and it could be spent on virtually any health care purpose, with no requirement to offer low- and moderate-income people coverage or financial assistance,” wrote a spokesperson for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in a press release.

Like previous GOP healthcare reform efforts, the $1.2 trillion Graham-Cassidy bill would call for a cap and cut to federal Medicaid per-beneficiary funding for tens of millions of seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children. The bill would require insurers to pay a higher premium for pre-existing conditions and would also defund Planned Parenthood for one year.

A lot has to happen before this bill could become law. It still has to be scored by the CBO and it’s not clear whether it will muster the support of 50 Senators in time before it goes to vote on September 30. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and John McCain were key Republican opposition votes during the last repeal-and-replace effort, and they might provide opposition again.

news susancollins

Maine's Senator Susan Collins could be a key Republican "no vote," but as of now, her position on the Graham-Cassidy healthcare reform bill remains unclear. 

After The Hill reported that Cassidy said that he’s whipped up support for the bill by “up to 48 or 49 fellow Republicans,” many mobilized in opposition across the country; here in Maine, people have been filling Senator Collins’ voice mailbox with messages urging her to vote no on September 30. According to a spokesperson for Collins, she’s still waiting on a CBO score before publicly voicing her position.

“Almost every aspect of this bill is terrible,” said Mike Tipping, the Communications Director at the Maine People’s Alliance. “This is going to be really close; they only need 50 votes. This could get passed. It’s a huge immediate threat and Mainers need to call Collins right now. She must oppose this loudly and unequivocally.”

Last modified onTuesday, 19 September 2017 10:13