Senate Republicans are making a last-ditch effort at repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through budget reconciliation, racing to beat a September 30 deadline to pass a bill with just 50 votes (plus a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence).
The bill would replace federal funds for Medicaid expansion and subsidies for individual market insurance sold in the marketplaces with a lump sum block grant for states. It would also repeal the ACA’s individual and employer mandates while giving states flexibility in enforcement of additional consumer protections.
WSHA has consistently held that any replacement for the ACA must cover at least as many Washingtonians. Unfortunately — like the previous attempts to repeal the ACA — this bill would have severe consequences, likely resulting in coverage reductions, huge budget deficits for our state government, financial harm to hospitals and ultimately worse health outcomes for our residents. Read more about its details in our recent edition of Inside D.C.
In Washington, nearly three quarters of a million people were able to gain health coverage through the ACA. That’s one out of every 10 people in our state. The ACA certainly needs improvement in areas, but the benefits of health coverage expansion have been overwhelming, allowing people to get the right care, at the right place, at the right time. Ailments can be treated in primary care before they become more serious and require a trip to the ER, preventing unnecessary suffering among patients and saving the costs of treating afflictions that could have otherwise been prevented.
We’ll keep careful track of this bill, as we may soon need your help in contacting our congressional delegation.
WSHA Senior Vice President, Government Affairs