LTE: Don’t be fooled by the Graham-Cassidy health care bill

To the Editor:

The Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill proposed by Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican from South Carolina and Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, is the latest Republican attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. This proposal is different from the past Republican repeal attempts because it dismantles many of the current provisions of Obamacare, whereas the previous attempts kept many Obamacare provisions, but provided less generous funding. Proponents of the bill argue it will lead to increased coverage, but that’s not feasible under this plan.

In defense of the bill, Senator Cassidy implied that states will be able to increase their health care spending because it will take the money from the federal government and give it “back to the states to make sure that those who have needs, are able to have their needs addressed.” In reality, they’re simply changing the way in which states receive money, which distracts from the fact that states are getting less and financial help to some individuals disappears.

Yes, states will receive a lump sum of money in the form of block grants to use on healthcare, but they’re not required by any mandate to use that money to help people pay for insurance and health care. Since the Graham-Cassidy proposal eliminates the Obamacare cost reduction subsidies that helped people purchase health plans, and halts Medicaid expansion in 2020, as well as cutting its funding, the people who need the most help might end up getting less depending on the state you live in.

The Graham-Cassidy proposal “allows” states to keep Obamacare and Medicaid expansion if they want, but since the block grants amount to less than what states get under Obamacare today, they’ll be forced to either cut benefits per recipients, or kick people off the programs to keep spending per recipient equal.

Prominent Republican senator from Arizona, John Mccain, has announced that he cannot “in good conscience” support the latest proposal, which will likely prevent the bill from going through. Republican senators Susan Collins from Maine, and Rand Paul from Kentucky have also expressed intentions to vote no, likely dooming Graham-Cassidy’s future.

—Taylor Nguyen

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