On July 28, there was a collective sigh of relief across North Carolina and the U.S. as what was thought to be the last attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and dismantle Medicaid failed. Advocates were hopeful that our lawmakers in Washington would commence bipartisan efforts to strengthen the ACA and improve Medicaid. Unfortunately, the zombie bill known has Trumpcare is back – this time as the Graham-Cassidy bill. Reports show that more than one million North Carolinians could lose coverage if conservative lawmakers are successful in passing this bill.
Despite its new name, the bill has the same damaging effects on Medicaid – a program that matters to North Carolina’s children, older adults, and people with disabilities. The Graham-Cassidy bill would dismantle Medicaid by restructuring the program from the current federal-state financial partnership in which the federal government pays for 67.6 percent of Medicaid costs to one featuring so-called “per capita caps” that provide a fixed amount per Medicaid beneficiary. In other words, caps are cuts to Medicaid funding. Thus, states will have to make decisions on whether to cut services, the number of Medicaid beneficiaries, or provider payments.
As conservative leadership in DC prepares to cut coverage for millions, they would do well to remember the story of Rev. James Brigman. (see the video below). Earlier this summer, Rev. Brigman walked from North Carolina to Washington to stand, walk, and speak for his daughter Lauren Faith who depends on Medicaid. Lauren Faith’s Medicaid coverage allows her to get the nursing care she needs, but also helps her parents to work. Rev. Brigman and Lauren Faith are just a snapshot on why Medicaid is coverage that should be protected. Tragically, once again, our national leaders are preparing to put families like this in jeopardy.