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Senate “health care” bill would be devastating for Louisiana families

Posted on June 22, 2017

The Senate health-care plan would be devastating for Louisiana families, care providers and the state budget while providing a massive tax cut for the ultra-rich. Instead of fixing the many problems with the House-passed American Health Care Act, the newest version makes them worse by calling for even deeper cuts to the Medicaid program.

When the House bill was approved, Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy rightly said that it went too far. “Congress’s focus must be to lower premiums with coverage which passes the Jimmy Kimmel test. The AHCA does not,” Cassidy said. The senator also has spoken of the importance of coverage: “If you want to be fiscally responsible, then coverage is better than no coverage,” he told The New York Times in March.

The Senate’s version of the bill – the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” – plainly fails the Jimmy Kimmel test and would reverse Louisiana’s historic health coverage gains:

  • It would end the Medicaid expansion, which has seen more than 431,000 Louisianans get health coverage since last July. Whether the expansion ends right away or more slowly, the result is the same: Hundreds of thousands of Louisianans – the vast majority of whom live in working families – would lose coverage, and the security that comes with it.
  • The bill drastically cuts and caps the entire Medicaid program, stripping coverage from an estimated 121,600 Louisianans who are covered through the “traditional” program, including children, people with disabilities and the elderly. As the New England Journal of Medicine noted just this week, Medicaid coverage reduces mortality and saves lives.
  • The Senate bill would raise premiums and deductibles for Louisianans who buy coverage in the individual marketplace by slashing tax credits and cost-sharing.
  • The bill guts consumer protections, potentially leaving people with pre-existing conditions without access to health care.

Now we know why this bill was crafted in secret, and why the Senate is trying to rush it to a vote with no time for the public to fully understand how it will affect Louisiana. But make no mistake: The Senate bill – like every version of this bill – would cut coverage for millions to finance tax cuts for a few.

As Cassidy himself told The Washington Examiner: “I am a critic of the American Health Care Act. I think it’s to set up tax reform and all the money used for coverage is instead going to be used to pay down the bill for tax reform.”

Sen. Cassidy must demand that the Senate delay a vote until the Congressional Budget Office has done a comprehensive analysis of the final version of the bill and until his constituents have had adequate time to review the bill and fully understand its impact.

More importantly, Sen. Cassidy must reject any bill that does not meet his own test of preserving coverage and reducing out-of-pocket costs. Anything less represents a broken promise to the people of Louisiana.

To read more about the specific impacts the AHCA would have on Louisiana, click here.

Use the following links to find out how the AHCA would affect:

People with preexisting conditions

Children

Children with disabilities

“Medically complex” children

Senior citizens

Women

Schools

Managed care organizations

Home and community-based services

Rural health care

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