New ACA Repeal and Replace Bill Still Disastrous for People Living With HIV and Hepatitis
September 14, 2017
Today, Senators Graham, Cassidy, Heller, and Johnson introduced yet another bill that would repeal and replace major portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and drastically cut Medicaid funding. The proposal eliminates ACA provisions like premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, and in turn, provides states block grants to operate their own systems for providing coverage. States would have the ability to roll back protections for vulnerable populations -- especially those living with HIV and hepatitis. It will also weaken existing benefits requirements. In addition to eliminating Medicaid expansion funding, the bill retains the same per capita cap funding structure included in the Senate's previous Better Care Reconciliation Act, a provision estimated to result in billions of dollars in federal cuts to the program.
"The cruel lie at the heart of this proposal is that states will be able to continue with systems developed under the ACA if they want to. With the type of cuts in this bill, including billions of dollars from the Medicaid program, it is mathematically impossible for states to continue the progress the ACA made to insure millions of individuals," noted NASTAD Executive Director Murray Penner. "Congress should abandon its attempt to ram through an unworkable plan, and focus instead on bipartisan healthcare legislation that improves, instead of destabilizes, our healthcare system. The only choice states will have under cuts of the magnitude proposed in this bill is to cut coverage and roll back protections for people living with pre-existing conditions, including HIV and hepatitis."
"The Senate must reject any healthcare bill that rolls back coverage, undercuts federal support for Medicaid, or eliminates critical protections for people living with pre-existing conditions," Penner concluded. NASTAD, along with national HIV and hepatitis partners, will continue to educate Senate offices on the importance of preserving coverage, affordability, and lifesaving services for people living with and at risk for HIV and hepatitis.
This article was provided by National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors. Visit NASTAD's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
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