Policy Matters opposes Graham-Cassidy bill in comments to Senate Finance Committee
Posted September 25, 2017 in Press Releases
Policy Matters Ohio submitted comments to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee’s hearing on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (CGHJ) health care bill today. The bill threatens health insurance for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans. The changes the bill makes to funding and consumer protections would limit the state’s ability to maintain its current level of insurance coverage, respond to public health challenges, and could stymie growth in the robust health care industry.
Ahead of the hearing, at 11am, Policy Matters, ProgressOhio, Planned Parenthood Ohio, UHCAN Ohio and the Physicians Action Network will take questions about the bill at ProgressOhio's office at 35 E. Gay St., Suite 404, Columbus, OH. The event will also be streamed on Facebook Live.
Through the ACA, 200,000 Ohioans enrolled in a marketplace plan, and more than 700,000 low-income Ohioans gained coverage through Medicaid expansion. As a result, the state’s uninsured rate dropped to 6.5 percent in 2015. Like previous attempts to repeal the ACA, CGHJ cuts and caps Medicaid, shifting costs to the states. Similarly, the proposal ends federal matching funds for Medicaid expansion in 2020. It also replaces ACA funding with block grants that end in 2026. This will cut Ohio’s federal funding for health coverage by $2.6 billion, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, leaving the state with tough choices about what programs it can afford to continue and who to serve. Over time, millions will lose coverage as out-of-pocket costs soar and consumer protections, which ensure coverage regardless of gender and health status, are reduced. Estimates suggest that by 2027, upwards of 32 million Americans would lose coverage.
“These funding changes leave states with little flexibility to weather downturns or crises that may push their costs up,” Policy Matters Ohio Researcher Katie Fallon said in the comment. “Ohio will be in a uniquely problematic position because of our aging population and mounting challenges associated with the drug epidemic. This proposal puts Ohio, and all of our health partners in the state — safety net providers, hospitals, doctors—in a challenging and risky position.”
Health care is one of Ohio’s fastest growing industries. Between 2000 and 2015, the percentage of Ohio jobs in the private health care sector increased from 11.1 percent to 14.9 percent. More than one out of seven Ohioans works in the private health care sector.
“Funding cuts in the GCHJ bill will ripple throughout the state economy, affecting hospitals, other health care providers, laboratory services, doctor’s offices, and even the local restaurants where health care workers get lunch,” Fallon said. “This plan doubles that risk by increasing the number of uninsured hospital visits, putting new costs onto hospitals and care providers.”