The Senate last week issued a draft health care bill with even deeper Medicaid cuts than the already adopted House plan.
HCA, meanwhile, has continued its work in collaboration with a New York coalition of health care organizations urging members of New York’s Congressional Delegation to resist the Senate measure, along with any consensus bill that would follow in like form.
Broadly, the Senate bill mirrors key aspects of the House legislation, also known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which cuts as much as $800 billion from Medicaid. That bill – which was the second attempt by Congress this year to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – passed the House on May 4 in a party-line vote of 217 Republicans to 213 Democrats.
The Senate bill goes further with its cuts to Medicaid, but in a similar manner as the House bill, shifting the program to a capped block-grant program while phasing out the Medicaid expansion option that many states, like New York, entered into under ACA.
Like the House bill, the Senate legislation would also create tax credits for individuals to purchase health insurance, though the schedule of credits differs from the House bill in terms of income and age thresholds. The bill also likewise overturns the tax increases underpinning much of ACA’s funding mechanism for extending coverage to lower-income citizens.
HCA President Joanne Cunningham has represented HCA in a multi-stakeholder coalition of 30 organizations opposing the House bill and, now, the Senate plan. The coalition has written joint letters to Congress, met with members of the New York Delegation and is holding meetings this week in Washington to continue its charge against the proposals being considered in Congress.
Though the House has already passed its own bill, any legislation coming from the Senate would traditionally undergo a process of reconciliation in conference committees between the two houses before a final vote and delivery to the President for his signature. Yet, HCA is hearing that the current legislative strategy may bypass the conference committee process and hasten a final vote by having the House simply pass the Senate’s version of the bill.
Please stay tuned for further updates on HCA’s advocacy activities and grassroots member action alerts as the debate over health care continues to consume Congress.