Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal would cut Illinois health funding – Health Care News

on Sep21

20 September 2017 | 6:00 pm

Federal health care funding to Illinois would be slashed by $153 billion, or 34 percent, from 2020 to 2036 if lawmakers approve the latest GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

That’s the analysis by Washington-based consultancy Avalere Health as a proposal by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy progresses on Capitol Hill.

The plan would cut federal funding to Illinois insurance programs by $8 billion, or 5 percent, from 2020 to 2026, and $18 billion, or 11 percent, from 2020 to 2027, according to Avalere. Federal funding for Illinoisans’ health insurance will end after 2026, which explains the $10 billion jump between 2026 and 2027.

Illinois would join 33 states in losing federal funding for health care under the proposed Graham-Cassidy bill, Avalere said. Only 16 states’ health care funding would increase. The Avalere analysis was funded by the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

The Graham-Cassidy bill cuts federal health care funding while potentially increasing costs for people with pre-existing conditions, according to independent analyses by Avalere and consultancy Manatt Health. It keeps most of Obamacare’s taxes while undoing the law’s insurance expansion and redirecting the funds to states as block grants. That would give Illinois and other states broad discretion over how to use the funds. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to hold a vote next week on Republicans’ latest attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act.

“I have expressed my concerns to members of Congress and members of the administration about the changes to the ACA and very significant negative impacts it could have on the people of Illinois,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said today at a news conference. Rauner said the proposed bill would have a “big impact, negative impact” on Illinoisans who receive insurance through Obamacare.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which evaluates legislation for lawmakers, has said it won’t have time to evaluate the full effects of the repeal plan before a potential vote. CBO said it plans to publish a more limited analysis by early next week. Neither Avalere nor Manatt Health offered analysis on how many Illinoisans could lose health insurance under the new bill.

More than 650,000 Illinois residents have been insured through Medicaid expansion, and 350,000 through Affordable Care Act plans, according to state data. Many of these individuals gained insurance through the expansion of Medicaid program to more low-income people.

Chicago-based Blue Cross & Blue Shield questioned whether Graham-Cassidy ensured adequate funding for Medicaid. The insurer said reduced federal funding to states would introduce uncertainty into the Obamacare marketplace, locally operated as Get Covered Illinois, and make consumer health coverage more expensive. That would decrease the number of Illinois residents insured.

“Although we support providing states with greater flexibility in shaping health care options for their residents, we share the significant concerns of many health care organizations about the proposed Graham-Cassidy bill,” Blue Cross & Blue Shield said in a statement. “The bill contains provisions that would allow states to waive key consumer protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing medical conditions.”

The Manatt analysis also found Illinois and other states could potentially remove other pieces of the ACA’s insurance regulations under the new bill, including requirements that health plans cover essential health benefits, such as prescription drugs, hospitalization and maternity care.

The Republican bill is opposed by a broad swath of health care groups, including the Illinois Health & Hospital Association, American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association.

“The Illinois Health and Hospital Association strongly opposes the latest Senate proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would do great harm to patients, hospitals, the health care delivery system and our state budget and economy,” Danny Chun, spokesman for the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, said in a statement.

Chun noted Illinois already receives the least federal funding per Medicaid recipient in the country.

“Illinois cannot absorb additional financial burdens that would be imposed on the state and would be forced to reduce eligibility, covered services and payments to providers. The magnitude of these cuts and changes to Medicaid is staggering,” he said.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.



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