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Texas Groups Slam New Trumpcare Bill as Senate Prepares to Vote

September 22, 2017
For Immediate Release
CONTACT:
Peter Clark, Texans Care for Children, 512-473-2274
Oliver Bernstein, CPPP, 512-289-8618

Rallies Against the Bill Are Planned Across Texas

AUSTIN – As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote next week on the Graham-Cassidy health care repeal bill, Texas advocates for children, families, patients, and consumers expressed their strong opposition to the bill.

The legislation would cut overall funding provided under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including subsidies for purchasing insurance through the ACA Marketplace as well as the Medicaid expansion funding provided to states for serving low-wage adults. The legislation would eliminate those programs and deliver the reduced funding to states through a block grant. The legislation would also cut funding for the traditional Medicaid program – which serves Texas children, seniors, pregnant women, and people with disabilities – and deliver the reduced funding to the states in a manner similar to a block grant. According to one estimate, federal Medicaid funding for all states would fall by a total of $713 billion by 2026, with steeper declines in the following years. Additionally, the legislation would eliminate consumer protections, such as guarantees for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

The bill would have a severe impact on Texans. According to one estimate, 2.8 million Texans would lose health coverage by 2027. Texas would experience a temporary funding bump financed by cutting health care for low-wage workers in Medicaid expansion states, but Texas would lose $120 billion in federal health funding by 2036 according to expert analysis. Senators are planning to vote on the bill before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) completes an official estimate of how many Americans would lose health coverage.

In order to pass the bill this year without achieving the 60 votes typically required to bring up Senate legislation, parliamentary rules require the Senate to vote by September 30th. If the bill passes the Senate, the House would have to approve it without any changes. The House would not be subject to the September 30th deadline.

Multiple events are planned around Texas in the coming days to demonstrate Texans’ opposition to the bill at this make-or-break moment, including the following health care rallies:

Several members of the Cover Texas Now coalition expressed their concerns about the legislation:

Anne Dunkelberg, Associate Director for the Center for Public Policy Priorities, said, “A temporary funding “bump” for Texas at the expense of other states simply hides the big picture losses for our state and our most vulnerable Texans. After seven years, Graham-Cassidy eliminates its short-lived funding bump to Texas, and quickly rolls out huge and devastating cuts. Texas will lose $120 billion in federal health care funds over the next two decades, deeply cutting our Medicaid program and causing millions of Texas to lose coverage.”

Dennis Borel, Executive Director of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, said “There is already a 14-year waitlist for Medicaid community waiver services. If passed, this bill would be an absolutely crushing blow to Texans with disabilities and their hopes of living healthy and independently.”

Adriana Kohler, Senior Health Policy Analyst at Texans Care for Children, said, "This bill would be devastating for Texas children. According to one estimate, the bill would cut children’s Medicaid by 31 percent. We have already seen the damage done when the state Legislature cut Medicaid for therapies for children with disabilities. The Senate bill would turn that brush fire into a roaring wild fire."

Maggie Jo Buchanan, Southern Director of Young Invincibles, said, "With our state facing the highest maternal mortality rate in the country, stripping away requirements that health plans cover essentials like maternity care is irresponsible and heartless. Any Texas senator or representative who votes for this bill is intentionally endangering the health and well-being of Texas's young families."

Michelle Tremillo, Executive Director of Texas Organizing Project, said: “This last ditch effort to again repeal healthcare for millions, draw back protections for those with pre-existing conditions and place the most vulnerable without health coverage options, is not what Texans want. Texas is currently in the process of expanding Medicaid during this period of emergency response to Hurricane Harvey in order to help hard hit Texas families get back on their feet. Should this bill pass, temporary relief in crises like recessions, health outbreaks or natural disasters would likely not be possible because of the caps and cuts to Medicaid put in place by this bill. This is one of the many reasons TOP community leaders will join their partners across the state to raise our voices in opposition to this bill this weekend and next week.”

Will Francis, Government Relations Director for the National Association of Social Workers/Texas Chapter, said, “Any bill that strips healthcare from the neediest by transforming Medicaid into a block grant and removes the protections for those with a pre-existing condition should be a non-starter for our Congress. When these cost cutting measures are coupled with less federal dollars that may leave over a projected 32 million people without coverage by 2026, we are seeing a decimation of healthcare in this country. Legislation that increases premiums, leaves less people covered, and sows more doubt about the well-being of those with acute medical issues is a step backwards for our entire healthcare system.”

Patrick Bresette, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund of Texas, said, “The push to pass Graham-Cassidy for partisan political reasons is delaying the reauthorization of children’s healthcare through CHIP, showing a lack of true leadership. It’s reprehensible to make families fear losing the coverage that their children rely on in order to make a last ditch attempt to repeal a law that the overwhelming majority of Americans want to keep and improve.”

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