Graham-Cassidy Hearing is Not “Regular Order,” Doesn’t Fix Fundamentally Flawed Healthcare Bill

Experts

Director, Special Projects
Senior Attorney
Health Policy Analyst
Associate Director, Strategic Communications

Monday, September 25, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumers Union, the policy division of Consumer Reports, today strongly urged Senators to oppose the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill as the Senate Finance Committee prepares for a rushed Monday hearing. In a letter sent to Committee members, the consumer group outlined its grave concerns with the legislation, the rushed and incomplete analysis of the bill’s impact, and this hollow attempt at ‘regular order.’

Betsy Imholz, Special Projects Director for Consumers Union, said, “This bill is an even harsher version of the previous failed proposals that were overwhelmingly rejected by Americans. It is not only a repeal of the Affordable Care Act — threatening key consumer protections and coverage requirements that ensure those with preexisting conditions have access to meaningful care —  but also a historic undercutting of the Medicaid program. By turning subsidies and Medicaid expansion dollars into block grants to states, with dramatically reduced funding, the bill would eliminate consumers’ certainty that, no matter where they live, their access to care and coverage is constant and assured. No one time buyout, carve out, or ‘fix’ can address these problems.

“In addition to the fundamental flaws of the bill, we are deeply troubled by the rushed manner in which this bill, like those in the past failed attempts, is being considered. If enacted, this bill would affect the life of each American and one-sixth of our economy. But the Senate is poised to vote without a complete CBO analysis of the premium cost and coverage losses. And holding one hearing in one Committee of jurisdiction less than a week before a vote is expected, with no real opportunity for bipartisan feedback or meaningful stakeholder input, is far from ‘regular order.’

“We strongly urge Senators to abandon this damaging bill and focus on a renewed commitment to bipartisan efforts to produce a tailored, thoughtful remedy that truly serves consumers’ needs.”