In Rush to Pass Legislation, Senate Republicans Have Produced a Heartless Bill to Roll Back Health Care Reforms
Washington – After weeks in secrecy, Senate leadership has released a bill that would yank health care coverage from tens of millions of individuals and families to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy.
The Senate bill aims to repeal integral provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), end its Medicaid expansion, and impose draconian cuts on Medicaid, a program on which 70 million people rely for access to regular quality health care. The measure would allow insurance companies to discriminate against older adults, and would deny coverage for maternity care, mental health care, and substance use care. The measure, moreover, would dramatically cut health care treatments for people with substance use disorders, and would defund Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive care for low-income women, many enrolled in Medicaid.
“This bill hatched in secrecy is cruel and dehumanizing,” said National Health Law Program (NHeLP) Executive Director Elizabeth G. Taylor. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says these matters have all been debated, and therefore no more discussion is needed. That is simply not true. Most senators have been excluded from the back room horse trading that resulted in this bill that would repeal the landmark Affordable Care Act, which took years to enact and was done so in transparent fashion. This measure if enacted would radically damage the Medicaid statute, which has been protecting low income children and their families, people with disabilities and seniors since it was enacted in 1965. We deserve much better than what is being served up to us today.”
NHeLP Legal Director Jane Perkins said the Senate bill takes a butcher’s knife to the Medicaid program.
“The Senate’s measure seeks draconian cuts to Medicaid, which would inevitably cause states to cut services and tighten enrollment,” Perkins said. “A drastic shrinking of Medicaid would disproportionately harm women, communities of color, children, and people living with disabilities, and pre-existing conditions. These cuts will deny health care coverage to people who need it most, and greatly exacerbate poverty and economic inequality in this country. This is a regressive measure that would end a successful and popular health care program, to help pay for unnecessary tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.”
NHeLP Managing Director of the DC Office Mara Youdelman noted that the Senate bill ends the expansion of Medicaid, which has provided health care coverage to tens of millions of low-income individuals.
“The Senate leadership’s bill effectively ends expansion of Medicaid, which has been adopted by 32 states,” Youdelman said. “The road to ending that expansion will result in rising uninsured rates. Numerous studies have shown that Medicaid expansion is leading to greater health care outcomes for low-income individuals and helping to bolster state economies. Ending the expansion of Medicaid will make people sicker and weaken local economies.”
Please contact NHeLP’s Director of Communications Jeremy Leaming for further comment on the Senate’s effort to repeal the ACA.