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Senate health bill fails every litmus test

The Senate health bill would lead to 22 million more people uninsured nationally, including hundreds of thousands of Louisianans. It would raise average after-tax-credit marketplace premiums in Louisiana by 105 percent and it contains a glaring loophole that would mean people with pre-existing conditions would not be protected.

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NEW REPORT: The American Health Care Act Would Reverse Recent Coverage Gains and Strain Louisiana’s Budget

The American Health Care Act would be devastating for the state budget, health care providers and residents of all parts of the state.

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Tax bills fall short on revenue

While these bills would eliminate a costly and unorthodox tax break, they fall far short of the revenue that is needed to address the looming $1.3 billion fiscal cliff in 2018 and put the state budget back on a more sustainable path. In fact, passage of these bills - which would require a vote of the people - would make it harder for policymakers to solve the state’s structural revenue shortfall in a future special session.

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The Daily Dime

Louisiana’s pediatricians have pushed back hard against the Medicaid caps and cuts included in the Senate’s “health care” bill.

Number of the Day

35 - Percent cut to Medicaid over the next two decades under the Senate “health” bill. The cuts are projected to leave 15 million people without health insurance by 2026, with even more losing coverage during the following decade as cuts become more severe. (Source: Congressional Budget Office)

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Our Two Cents Blog

The new Senate strategy to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement should be a “non-starter,” to use the words of Sen. Bill Cassidy earlier this month.  The “repeal-only” approach would take health insurance away from more Americans and Louisianans than any of the replacement bills put forth by the House or Senate to date. Accordingly, repealing the Affordable Care Act without a simultaneous replacement has been criticized by a number of senators on both sides of the aisle and, at times, President Trump. A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation in January 2017 found 75 percent of Americans either wanted Congress to leave the Affordable Care Act as is or repeal it only when they have a replacement bill in place.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found in the first year alone, the bill now being considered by the Senate would cause premiums to rise by 25 percent and an additional 18 million Americans would be uninsured. By 2026, the repeal-only plan would leave 32 million Americans without health insurance and premiums in the individual marketplace would double. The rising premiums and loss of federal subsidies would put coverage out of reach for many current marketplace enrollees; with far fewer people buying coverage, the marketplaces would be destabilized. By 2026, CBO estimates three-quarters of Americans would live in areas without any insurers participating in the individual market.

The impact of a “repeal only” bill would be particularly harmful in Louisiana because it would eliminate the state’s Medicaid expansion. In 2020, the state would be forced to end its expansion program that provides coverage to people who are struggling to make ends meet. Unlike the American Health Care Act and Better Care Reconciliation Act, under the “repeal only” plan states would not even have the option to continue the Medicaid expansion by replacing lost federal funding with state funds. As a result, nearly all of the 430,000 Louisianans who have enrolled in Medicaid expansion would be without health coverage on January 1, 2020.

Eighty-six percent of Louisianans who purchase insurance on the individual marketplace receive federal subsidies to reduce their net premiums.  In 2017, Louisianians who enrolled in marketplace coverage receive an average advance premium tax credit of $435, which covers 79 percent of the total monthly premium for comprehensive coverage. Under a repeal-only plan, those subsidies would be eliminated, and the vast majority of those who lose subsidies would be left with unaffordable premiums and would become uninsured.

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