The U.S. Senate is currently considering the Graham-Cassidy block grant bill, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) insurance mandate, underfund health insurance subsidies and make drastic cuts to the Medicaid program. Under the bill, traditional Medicaid funding would be capped. Medicaid expansion and ACA subsidies for low- and middle-income families would be subject to an underfunded block grant and phased out in 2027. This bill would be disproportionately harmful to states like California, which embraced Medicaid expansion and increased coverage under the ACA.
In response, the California Medical Association (CMA), representing over 43,000 physicians in all specialties and modes of practice, called on the California Congressional Delegation to oppose this bill. Congress should work with health care professionals to craft legislation that increases patient access to health care and maintains coverage for the more than 15 million Californians insured through Medi-Cal and Covered California.
“This bill would significantly reduce Medicaid funding, which provides health coverage for more than 13 million Californians,” said CMA President Ruth Haskins, M.D. “A vote for this legislation is a vote to deteriorate public health in California – especially in areas like the Central Valley, where approximately half of the population relies on Medicaid for health care.”
Patients without coverage seek more expensive care in overcrowded emergency rooms, passing costs on to states, counties, health care providers and taxpayers. These problems would be exacerbated by the reduction of subsidies currently provided to poor and middle class families. The Graham-Cassidy bill also allows states to do away with pre-existing condition protections and other essential health benefits that keep Americans healthy.
“Congress should engage with physicians and other medical experts on the front lines caring for patients to develop legislation that improves patient access to physicians, protects coverage for our most vulnerable populations and addresses affordability,” said Dr. Haskins.
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The California Medical Association represents the state’s physicians with more than 43,000 members in all modes of practice and specialties. CMA is dedicated to the health of all patients in California. For more information, please visit CMADocs.org, and follow CMA on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.