Even as Republicans scramble to find the votes to pass their latest attempt to repeal Obamacare, the list of advocacy and industry groups opposed to the bill continues to grow.
On Wednesday, the two major health insurance industry associations voiced their concerns about the legislation, which would jettison several major Obamacare provisions and curtail federal support of Medicaid. They fear the bill would hurt consumers and patients by destabilizing the individual market and weakening Medicaid.
“The bill contains provisions that would allow states to waive key consumer protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing medical conditions,” the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association wrote in a statement. “The legislation reduces funding for many states significantly and would increase uncertainty in the marketplace, making coverage more expensive and jeopardizing Americans’ choice of health plans.”
America’s Health Insurance Plans was even more explicit, saying it cannot support the proposal authored by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
These two groups join a lengthy list of doctor, hospital and patient advocacy associations that are slamming the bill. Most of them were also opposed to the repeal measure that passed the House in May and the one that failed in the Senate in July.
The legislation would eliminate federal funding for Medicaid expansion and for Obamacare subsidies that lower premiums, deductibles and co-pays in 2020. Instead, states would receive a lump sum of money annually through 2026 that they could use in a variety of ways to lower costs and help consumers pay for coverage.
The bill would also allow states to waive several key Obamacare protections for those with pre-existing conditions. While insurers would still have to provide coverage to everyone, states could let carriers charge enrollees more based on their medical history. The legislation also would eliminate Obamacare’s essential health benefits provision, which mandates insurers cover an array of services, including hospitalization, maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse services.
Like its predecessor repeal bills in the House and Senate, the Graham-Cassidy version would repeal the individual and employer mandates. It also would reduce federal support for the overall Medicaid program by sending states a fixed amount per enrollee, known as a per-capita cap, or a lump sum, known as a block grant.
All this could leave millions of people without coverage, warnthe American Medical Association and American Hospital Association, which say Congress should work in a bipartisan manner to improve the nation’s health care system.
Here are many of the other groups who are not happy with the bill:
Federation of American Hospitals
Catholic Health Association
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Diabetes Association
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Lutheran Services in America
March of Dimes
National Health Council
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Organization for Rare Diseases
Volunteers of America