PRESS BRIEFING CALL at 2pm Pacific on New Updates to #GrahamCassidy & Impacts to CA

Today's press call will go over recent data releases on impacts to California, provide reaction to today's Senate Finance hearing, and give an initial analysis of proposed amendments to the bill announced over the weekend.
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For immediate release: Monday, September 25, 2017

For more information, contact:
Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, 916-870-4782 (cell)
Rachel Linn Gish, communications director, Health Access California, 916-532-2128 (cell)

PRESS BRIEFING CALL TODAY AT 2:00PM PACIFIC ON NEW UPDATES TO GRAHAM-CASSIDY ACA REPEAL PROPOSAL & IMPACTS ON CALIFORNIA

New Data Details Enormous Coverage Losses & Cuts in Proposal that Explicitly Targets California’s Health Care Funding

One and Only Hearing on Graham-Cassidy Happening Now; Vote Possible This Week

  • NEW CA DHCS Study Shows $23 Billion/Year Cuts to CA’s Health System by 2026; a Staggering $53 Billion/Year Cut by 2027
  • NEW UC-Berkeley Analysis Shows At Least 6.7 Million More Californians Uninsured. All 14 Millions Californians in Medi-Cal to Face Cuts
  • Fourteen California Congressmembers Who Voted for AHCA Silent, Despite 100+ Groups Urging Them to Denounce This Much Worse Bill
  • PRESS CALL TODAY AT 2:00PM PST on Updates and CA Impacts of Graham-Cassidy

WHAT:Happening now, the Senate Finance Committee is holding its one and only hearing on a proposal that would devastate our county’s health care system. The Graham-Cassidy proposal has many of the same provisions as devastating as previous repeal bills (such as repealing the Medicaid expansion), but also includes language that explicitly attacks larger states that embraced the ACA and expanded coverage, specifically California (including New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland), to lessen the impact of the cuts to other states from where the authors are seeking Senate votes. According to new data from the CA Department of Health Care Services, the bill would result in a $23 billion/year cut to California’s health care until 2026, and a $53 billion/year cut in 2027 and beyond. A UC Berkeley Labor Center analysis finds that a cut of this magnitude would mean at least 6.7 million more uninsured Californians, and cuts to access and benefits to the 14 million Californians in Medi-Cal. The bill also includes the loss of protections for those with pre-existing conditions at a greater magnitude than in previous ACA repeal bills. 

Today’s press call will go over recent data releases on impacts to California, provide reaction to today’s Senate Finance hearing, and give an initial analysis of proposed amendments to the bill announced over the weekend. The UC Berkeley Labor Center will also discuss tomorrow’s release of new data on job losses under Graham-Cassidy. 

WHO:Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access California
Laurel Lucia, Director, Health Care Program, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education
Steven Bliss, Director of Strategic Communications, California Budget and Policy Center
WHEN: Monday, September 25, 2017, 2:00pm PST
WHERE: Call-in information: Dial 866-906-7447; Code 7503681

Media members can get the latest news and information about the federal attempts to repeal the ACA by following @healthaccess, @UCBLaborCenter, and @CalBudgetCenter

Background

While Santorum and Graham have both referenced California “blue” political leaning, their argument is that California (and New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland) get a disproportionate amount of money from the Affordable Care Act. While exaggerated, this is due to three elements:

  • California’s high poverty rate, meaning we have significant need;
  • The fact that California expanded the Medicaid program to meet that need (and because 19 states have not expanded Medicaid as the law allows, by definition the Medicaid expansion states are getting a higher percentage of the money expended); and
  • The significant work that California has done to market, outreach and enroll its residents into coverage, both in Medi-Cal and Covered California–yet another option that was available to all states, but that only some took full advantage. 

GRAHAM-CASSIDY COMPONENTS: Even with the revisions, the Graham-Cassidy bill would do three things, combining the worst of previous ACA repeal proposals and taking them to greater extremes:

  • Graham-Cassidy would cut, phase out, block grant, and by 2027, utlimately zero out the money that the ACA provided for the Medicaid expansion and for affordability assistance in exchanges like Covered California.  It would directly eliminate the Medicaid expansion, which now covers over 4 million Californians, in addition to money that helps people in Covered California and the other exchanges afford coverage. Between now and 2026, it cuts the money and redistributes the money in the form of a block grant, with a formula designed for California to be hit with cuts harsher and sooner. It’s unclear what kind of health care program California could quickly create with a dwindling and disappearing amount of money.
  • Graham Cassidy cuts and caps the overall Medicaid program, impacting all 14 million Californians who depend on Medi-Cal coverage including half of all children, and two-thirds of our nursing home residents. 
  • Finally, Graham Cassidy undoes all the patient protections of the ACA, by allowing states to set their own rules, or no rules–with no federal requirements to abide by standards or policies such as no lifetime limits on coverage, no discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, essential health benefits, or other policies. Without the funding, even states like California would be under enormous pressure to lower premiums by scaling back benefits and consumer protections.

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