By Duke Staff
Without much pomp and circumstance, major legislation is being funneled through the Senate that can have widespread and devastating implications.
In an effort to push one of the GOP’s major goals before the end of the year — specifically to repeal and replace Obamacare — Senators Bill Cassidy, R-LA, and Lindsey Graham, R-SC, introduced the Graham-Cassidy bill on Sept. 13. This bill, in essence, would dismantle the Affordable Care Act and take the funds set aside for the programs made by the ACA in order to give that money to states to run their own health care programs. On top of that, it will also remove subsidies and reimbursements that help individuals buy health insurance and incentivise insurance companies to offer benefits to lower-income members.
Speculation on the bill has not been favorable across the board, with some estimates stating that millions of people would lose health care if this bill goes through. The left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in particular claims 32 million will experience that loss.
The response to Graham-Cassidy has been swift and decisive within the healthcare industry. Blue Cross announced on Wednesday that the bill threatens individuals with pre-existing conditions, as states can waive federal consumer protections. Similarly, AARP has condemned the bill as harmful to older citizens for much the same reason. They also warn that older adults could see their out-of-pocket costs rise as much as $16,174 a year.
The bill has not received much love in Washington, as well. Democrats have, as expected, condemned the bill, with Senator Bernie Sanders, I-VT, calling the bill “cruel” on Twitter and lambasting Republican senators to “listen to the American people and not their campaign contributors.”
Within the Republican party itself, discontent has emanated from some disgruntled party members. Senator Rand Paul, R-KY, has openly stated that he will not vote for the bill, and Senator Susan Collins, R-ME, stated that she is “disappointed” that the bill is being pushed forward without any bipartisan input.
And that is the real kicker of the situation, as well as why it is important to write about this bit of legislation. Despite the backlash seen on both sides and from within the healthcare industry, this bill is still expected to reach the Senate floor by next week, before the Congressional Budget Office releases its analysis.
With only nine days to pass the bill, the Senate is looking to power through and push Graham-Cassidy into this fiscal year. Introduced just weeks before its deadline, this bill is being recklessly pushed onto the floor without any consideration of its impact. As such, it is paramount to speak up about it. Whether you support Graham-Cassidy or despise it, your senators need to know your position. If the preliminary response to this bill has been this vitriolic, then it should by no means move forward as is.