After Graham-Cassidy

September 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Healthcare, Issues, Recent Blog Posts

Now that the fight against Zombie TrumpCare, this time in the form of the Graham-Cassidy bill, is over, it’s time for our lawmakers to get to work.

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee chairs the HELP Committee — the committee with jurisdiction over healthcare issues. He says he’s resuming bipartisan talks with Senator Patty Murray of Washington. The goal: Stabilizing ACA markets and protecting consumers in 2018.

As these talks continue, here’s a review of what I wrote just a few weeks ago when the talks started about the principles that should guide the discussion:

  • Expand the number of people who have good insurance coverage. Haslam showed support for this by proposing Insure TN to take advantage of Medicaid expansion dollars. Making a public option available to everyone is a good way to make sure we don’t have to depend on insurance companies for our health care coverage.
  • Make sure health coverage and health care are affordable for everyone. Part of that includes creating a mandatory, permanent funding stream for cost-sharing reduction payments that lower costs for people with ACA coverage. That means expanding ACA’s affordability protections, not getting rid of them.
  • Don’t let insurance companies scale back our essential health benefit packages, place caps on our care, or discriminate against anyone because of a preexisting condition. No one should get pushed into a high-risk pool, either.
  • Protect employer responsibility provisions as established in ACA, including the definition of full-time employment as an average of at least 30 hours a week and the applicability of the provision to employers with at least 50 full-time employees. Weakening this provision by requiring employees to work more hours or applying it to only larger employers would result in more uninsured people.
  • Protect and expand Medicaid and Medicare. The budget resolution now in the House would gut Medicaid and privatize Medicare to pay for tax breaks for corporations and the richest among us. That’s just not right. People throughout Tennessee count on Medicaid and Medicare. We just turned back efforts in the House and the Senate trying to take Medicaid away from millions of people. We must keep moving forward, not back.

If Senator Alexander and others will keep this five principles at the forefront of the discussion, progress can be made in terms of improving the ACA and expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare.

For more on our work on healthcare, follow @TNCitizenAction


 

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