Now that Republicans have failed to pass multiple versions of health care bills to repeal and replace Obamacare, or just repeal it, there’s only one GOP health care bill left floating around: one offered by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and cosponsored by Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV).
In broad strokes, the plan would reduce spending over time by converting Medicaid payments to the states into block grants while gradually reducing federal support. It would also give states more leeway to place limits on health care coverage.
But an analysis by the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published on Thursday finds that the plan would have effects similar to other Republican plans scored by the Congressional Budget Office: “It would cause many millions of people to lose coverage, radically restructure and deeply cut Medicaid, increase out-of-pocket costs for individual market consumers, and weaken or eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”
According to CBPP, the reductions would hit a handful states especially hard: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia, plus the District of Columbia. These states embraced expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and a result account for a large share of spending under the expansion. The Cassidy-Graham bill takes aim at that spending and essentially redirects the money toward non-expansion states, even as it reduces payments overall. Funding for Medicaid expansion would end entirely after 2026.
This redistributive effort appears to be central to the political strategy behind the bill. Former Sen. Rick Santorum recently told Breitbart that he has “no question that we can get very broad support among the Republican base and frankly this will get support from a Democrat or two. The reason is because of the way that Obamacare is structured, it benefits a handful of states.”
Taking from New York and giving to Alabama may indeed be a winning strategy. That may be why former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Andy Slavitt recently tweeted that “The most viable effort 2 repeal the ACA is Graham Cassidy Heller.”
You can review the CBPP analysis in full here.