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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

The Graham-Cassidy Repeal Bill will be Terrible for Alaska: Tell Our Senators to Vote No

By Ghert Abbott


September 25, 2017
Monday AM

It’s happening again. The Republican leadership in Congress is attempting to pass yet another bill repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As with previous repeal bills, the American Health Care Act, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, and the so-called “Skinny Bill,” the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill’s appearance is shrouded in obfuscation and secrecy. There will be no public hearings, no public input, and no CBO score, so the Senate will be voting on the bill with only the vaguest idea of what it will ultimately do to us. This is very much intentional. A full CBO score could have been made on Graham-Cassidy weeks ago, but the legislation was held back until the very last minute, so as to avoid the nasty headlines about inevitable coverage losses and premium spikes which helped sink all previous repeal efforts.

This is what we know so far. Under Graham-Cassidy, Alaska’s ACA Medicaid expansion would be rolled back and eventually eliminated. Alaskan Medicaid would be severely cut through a block grant system and ACA market subsidies reduced. The money cut from Medicaid expansion states like Alaska would then be given to states that have refused to take part in the Medicaid expansion program. Senator Cassidy has outright admitted that this will result in many Alaskans losing healthcare coverage: “We recognize there are circumstances where states that expanded Medicaid will have to really ratchet down their coverage.” Reduced coverage means many Alaskans will die for lack of affordable care.

Furthermore, under Graham-Cassidy, Federal protections for people with pre-existing conditions would be all but eliminated, as insurance companies would now be able to receive waivers allowing them to deny coverage and charge higher premiums based on healthcare history. So Graham-Cassidy deprives the states of the money they need to provide affordable insurance to their people, while also making healthcare more expensive and less accessible for those who need it the most. It is an absolutely appalling piece of legislation, with no redeeming features.

I urge you to call Senator Dan Sullivan (202-224-3004) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (202-224-6665) and tell them that Alaska says NO to Graham-Cassidy.

Ghert Abbott
Ketchikan, Alaska


Was the text of this letter edited by the SitNews Editor: No


Received September 20, 2017 - Published September 25, 2017

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