It’s becoming increasingly clear that the latest GOP initiative to repeal the Affordable Care Act — the so-called “Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal” — is the most radical and potentially destructive yet. A new letter from an array of North Carolina nonprofits (including the parent organization of NC Policy Watch, the NC Justice Center) to, among others, Senator Richard Burr, explains why.
Here is an except:
“We the undersigned write to voice our collective opposition to the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal. We are very discouraged that instead of continuing down a bipartisan path and working on issues to improve the strength and stability of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) marketplaces, the sponsors of this legislation have put forward a proposal that will:
- Eliminate the financial assistance that helps North Carolinians with low and moderate incomes purchase health care coverage;
- Prevent North Carolina from increasing access to Medicaid in the future and end expanded Medicaid coverage that helps millions of adults with low incomes in other states;
- Gut Medicaid through deep, permanent cuts that would grow over time and threaten care for millions of seniors with low incomes, children, and people living with disabilities and shift massive costs and risks to states;
- Jeopardize access to life-saving and effective treatments for addiction and weaken states’ efforts to address the current crisis of drug overdose deaths;
- Undermine essential protections for people with pre-existing conditions;
- Resurrect and worsen the devastating cuts in coverage and benefits that the American public and the majority of Congress have already rejected.
The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) proposal threatens the health and financial security of millions of North Carolinians, including older adults, families with low and moderate incomes, people living with disabilities, women, veterans, and people with pre-existing conditions. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that GCHJ slashes federal health care funding for North Carolina by $8.1 billion dollars between 2020 and 2026, and Avalere projects that the total losses in federal health care funding would grow to $98 billion by 2036. While the estimates vary across third party groups – whether they be the Kaiser Family Foundation, Avalere, Manatt, or the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – they all agree that North Carolina is a financial loser under this bill.
The proposal does nothing to improve affordability or availability of coverage for consumers and will likely result in at least 1.1 million North Carolinians losing coverage by 2027 and will undermine the financial stability of our health care system and place additional fiscal strains on our state budget. Below we’ve laid out in more detail our concerns with this proposal and the devastating impact it will have on consumers in our state.
The letter goes on to detail each of the main failures of the proposal, including the absurd lack of process and transparency that have accompanied its recent rise.
The bottom line: If Senators Burr and Tillis vote for such a proposal and it actually becomes law, it will be one of the most harmful acts ever intentionally inflicted on our state by a group of elected officials.