another serious ACA repeal attempt under way

Zombie Trumpcare is back again. Image courtesy Pixabay

Last summer, I wrote about the Senate’s ACA-busting Better Care Reconciliation Act: “Remember: Republicans cannot give up on this, they can only hope to wear us down.”

Well, they are at it again with the Cassidy-Graham bill, and it is arguably even worse than the BCRA. This new plan appears to be “sabotage now and defund later.”

Or, as said: “As policy, it’s a bit like walking into somebody’s house, lighting the whole ground floor on fire, then telling them, ‘Hey, you can keep living here—if you like it.'”

Long on repeal, short on replace
Highlights of the plan, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities piece “Cassidy-Graham Would Deeply Cut and Drastically Redistribute Health Coverage Funding Among States“: 

  • Alaska loses $149 million in federal funding by 2026 (Appendix Table 1 “Cassidy-Graham Block Grant and Medicaid Per Capita Cap Cuts Federal Funding for Most States by 2026”)
  • Cassidy-Graham would use the Medicaid per capita cap proposed in the Better Care Reconciliation Act. From CBPP: “The Senate bill’s Medicaid cuts, outside of the Medicaid expansion, would equal $180 billion over ten years, CBO estimates.” Here are CBO reports on the BCRA: cost estimate, Medicaid effects
  • Replace ACA subsidies and Medicaid enhanced matching rate with a block grant that dwindles annually until it ends in 2026. I’m pretty sure these block grants are the “replace” portion of the plan.
  • The block grants aren’t required to be used on health care coverage, just an approved health care related purpose.
  • It institutes a Medicaid per capita cap.
  • Annual and lifetime coverage limits will be allowed.*
  • If I understand correctly, it also removes the essential services.*

Asterisked items would be done through state-by-state waivers.

From my perspective, one of the worst things about this bill is that it will temporarily boost benefits in certain low-population (coincidentally, Republican) states before yanking the ACA away completely. To me, that seems especially duplicitous.

You know what to do now
Don’t let Republicans get away with thinking they can tire us out! Here is the all the contact information you will need to get hold of Sen. Murkowski and Sen. Sullivan.

And, by the way, do not let Sullivan off the hook: he is our Senator too – our voice in Washington D.C. As I have said before:  if Sen. Murkowski or Sen. Sullivan are going to vote against your best interests, make them cheat you to your face.

  • Are you a caller?

Protip: if the voicemail box is full, try another office. In the past, I’ve found that the Fairbanks voicemail often has room even when D.C., Juneau, and Anchorage voicemail boxes are full:

Lisa Murkowski
DC phone: (202)-224-6665
Anchorage phone: (907) 271-3735
Fairbanks phone: (907) 456-0233
Juneau phone: (907) 586-7277

Dan Sullivan
DC phone: (202)-224-3004
Anchorage phone: (907) 271-5915
Fairbanks phone: (907) 456-0261
Juneau phone: (907) 586-7277

  • Can’t call? Don’t let anyone tell you that writing doesn’t work!

Here are links to email: Lisa MurkowskiDan Sullivan

  • Like to cause maximum inconvenience?

Here’s a guy who recommends faxing a letter to provide a physical presence for your opinion in their office.

And, conveniently, here are the fax numbers you’ll need:

Lisa Murkowski
DC fax: (202)-224-5301
Anchorage fax: (877) 857-0322
Fairbanks fax: (907) 451-7146
Juneau fax: (907) 586-7201

Dan Sullivan
DC fax: (202) 224-6501
Anchorage fax: (907) 258-9305
Fairbanks fax: (907) 451-7290
Juneau fax: (907) 586-7201

Stay strong, stay brave, and stay loud!
– Mary

The views in this opinion piece are those of the author. They are not official positions of or the Tongass Democrats.

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