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LACMA Issues Statement Regarding Graham-Cassidy Bill to Repeal ACA

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Republican senators unveiled their new proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last Thursday, and the legislation is receiving immense backlash from the healthcare industry. Doctors, patients, hospitals and insurance companies across the country have banded together against the bill, claiming it can devastatingly result in millions of Americans losing access to affordable healthcare and coverage.

Led by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), the proposed legislation seeks to issue block grants to fund health insurance within each state, all while eliminating the following:

  • Medicaid expansion
  • Cost-sharing subsidies
  • Tax credits
  • Individual and employer mandates

In a recent report released by Avalere Health, a health-policy consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., it was estimated that both Medicaid and private subsidies would decrease by over $215 billion between the years 2020 and 2026, and more than $4 trillion over a 20 year period. Among those states most affected by the new legislation, California would be hit hardest — losing an estimated $78 billion in federal funding.

The Brookings Institute and the University of Southern California Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics also released a joint analysis stating that the Graham-Cassidy legislation would reduce the number of insured Americans by approximately 21 million each year within the six-year period between 2020 and 2026. According to the report, most of these reductions would be caused by the bill’s elimination of Medicaid expansion.

Organizations representing our nation’s physicians, including the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have all expressed concerns with the new bill, claiming that the legislation is a clear violation of the Hippocratic Oath taken by all doctors to “first do no harm.”

At the local level, William K. Averill, MD, president of the Los Angeles County Medical Association (LACMA), released the following statement regarding the proposed legislation:

“As president of the Los Angeles County Medical Association (LACMA), I am opposed to the Graham-Cassidy block grant legislation because if it passes, millions of Californians will lose their health coverage and access to physicians, and it will eliminate current protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.

This legislation shifts costs and risks to the states and, ultimately, to physicians and other providers who are on the front lines caring for these patients. If it passes, California will lose billions of dollars in healthcare funding that the state cannot replace. It will reverse the important gains we have made to cover the uninsured, improve health status and provide families with real security.

We are concerned that this proposal is being rushed to the Senate floor not only at the expense of bipartisan negotiations but without a detailed analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

To ensure all patients have access to the coverage and care they need, we must continue to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to promote meaningful solutions.”

With their Sept. 30 deadline quickly approaching, Republican senators are racing to pass the bill under its special budget reconsolidation status — requiring only a majority of votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. If you would like to weigh in on the issue, please contact LACMA’s CEO Gustavo Friederichsen at gustavo@lacmanet.org.

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