Republicans in Congress are at it again. Without hearings, without public input, and without a CBO score, they are trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Their latest incarnation, the Graham-Cassidy bill, is just as cruel and dangerous as previous “repeal and replace” efforts.
Trumpcare 3.0 would leave 32 million Americans uninsured and return us to the days when health insurance companies could charge you more for having a pre-existing condition. In Virginia, it is estimated more than 839,000 people would lose their coverage.
This bill slashes Medicare and Medicaid funding, including a $1.2 billion cut to Virginia’s Medicaid program. It would eliminate cost-sharing reduction payments and small business tax credits that have helped make health insurance accessible for millions of Americans. It would result in increased premium costs and allow insurance companies to reinstate arbitrary lifetime coverage caps. And it eliminates essential health benefits like maternity care and substance abuse treatment that we’ve come to rely on.
Quite simply, this Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act is a philosophy of social Darwinism and it's shameful. It’s no wonder almost every major health care and consumer group opposes this bill.
The American Medical Association said the bill “violates the precept of ‘first do no harm'.’’
According to the AARP:
| “The Graham-Cassidy bill would increase health care costs for older Americans with an age tax, decrease coverage, and undermine preexisting condition protections. In addition, this bill would jeopardize the ability of older Americans and people with disabilities to stay in their own homes as they age and threaten coverage for individuals in nursing homes.”
And the American Hospital Association said:
"We believe that coverage could be at risk for tens of millions of Americans under the Graham-Cassidy proposal. We believe that coverage could be at risk for tens of millions of Americans under the Graham-Cassidy proposal…This proposal would erode key protections for patients and consumers."
Since President Trump took office he has launched a campaign of sabotage against the Affordable Care Act, including threatening to withhold cost-sharing reduction payments, refusing to enforce the individual mandate, and discontinuing much of the advertisement and outreach activities that were used by the Obama administration to encourage ACA enrollment.
Rather than dismantle the Affordable Care Act, we should improve it. I have proposed reforms that should find bipartisan support. We need to extend the risk-mitigation program that promotes market certainty and ensures insurance companies continue to participate in the marketplaces. We need to search for ways to encourage younger Americans to join the marketplaces. And we should help states like Virginia expand Medicaid coverage.
The latest Republican effort is immoral and will hurt Virginians. Please know I will do everything I can to make sure Trumpcare 3.0 is defeated.
Gerald E. Connolly
Member of Congress