September 22, 2017 Radio Commentary

Meet Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson, the New Healthcare Bill

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, September 22, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Three days ago, former Senator Rick Santorum reported that Senators Graham, Cassidy, Heller, and Johnson had introduced a new healthcare bill, H.R. 1628.  Louisiana Senator Cassidy’s website outlines bare-bones specifics of the 140-page bill, which ends with this on the last page: Section 1402 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, beginning for plan years after December 31, 2019.

H.R. 1628 does not eliminate Obamacare, but proposes a repeal of the structure and architecture of Obamacare and replaces it with annual block grants to states.  The grants would be administered through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is Medicaid for minors.

Senator Cassidy further explains that H.R. 1628 does repeal Obamacare’s Individual and Employer Mandates and the Medical Device Tax, and the distribution of equalized block grants to states allows states to provide equitable treatment to patients and waive Obamacare regulations whether or not the state expanded Medicaid.  Last but not least, patients with pre-existing medical conditions will be protected, as well.Since Obamacare became law, four states – California, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York – have received 39 percent of Obamacare funding, leaving only 61 percent of healthcare funding to be divided among the remaining 46 states.

Graham-Cassidy, H.R. 1628, would equalize healthcare funding based on state population. Meaning, current California funding would be reduced by nine percent, Maryland’s funding stays the same, Massachusetts would get five percent less, and New York would get three percent less.  The remaining 78 percent would be distributed to 46 states, based on population.  That’s 17 percent more funding than they get now.

Under the current system, Pennsylvania, with almost double the Massachusetts population, gets 58 percent less Obamacare money than Massachusetts gets.  But H.R. 1628 (a) brings all states into funding parity by 2026, (b) allows states funding and flexibility to create outside-the-box healthcare systems, (c) premiums would be lower and coverage expanded, (d) medical decisions would move from Washington to states, and (e) patients could get tailor-made treatment.

Although H.R. 1628 repeals very few Obamacare tax increases, it does repeal Obamacare taxes on over-the-counter medications and medical devices, and allows states that like Obamacare to keep Obamacare.

On Monday, September 25th Senator Orin Hatch’s 24-member Finance Committee will consider the bill, that  must pass by September 30th for reconciliation.  H.R. 1628 is not perfect, but it’s a whole lot better than Obamacare!  To express your opinion, call 1 877 762-8762 before Monday.  For Georgia Insight, I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.