Editorial: Burr and Tillis stop fighting Obama, fix Obamacare
Posted September 26
CBC Editorial: Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017; Editorial # 8215
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
When the fact-checkers judge late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel's evaluation of the latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as more accurate than the bill’s sponsors – there’s a problem.
There’s also a problem when any legislation, particularly an effort to overhaul a massive health services program, is developed behind closed doors and rushed to consideration without anyone understanding how it works or what impact it might have.
There's a problem when virtually no health care providers, those responsible for delivering services under the bill, offer even token support.
Monday evening, the Congressional Budget Office said this latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare would leave "millions" of Americans without insurance. The report didn’t offer more detailed numbers, saying such an analysis would take more time. However, independent analyses from by the Brookings Institution and the Commonwealth Fund estimated up to 18 million more would lose their coverage through 2019 and 21 million more uninsured through 2026 if Graham-Cassidy became law.
Three reputable studies show that North Carolina will lose billions of health care dollars under the Graham-Cassidy bill and that those with pre-existing medical conditions will face steeper costs or be shutout of health coverage.
There's a problem when folks in Washington keep trying to abolish a program Americans say they like. Americans prefer Obamacare over the proposed Graham-Cassidy bill by 56-33 percent according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll. A new Public Policy Polling national survey found 54 percent approve of the Affordable Care Act while 38 percent disapprove.
Still, Sen. Thom Tillis says Graham-Cassidy is “a good step” because it transforms Obamacare into a block-grant program administered by the states. Does that mean states could just opt out all together?
Will North Carolina be better off, Sen. Tillis, if it can say to the 1.6 million adults with pre-existing health conditions – including the 86,000 who get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act – that they won’t be covered any more or will have to pay more for coverage that probably won’t be as good?
North Carolina stands to lose under the plan because -- even though it rejected the federally-funded Medicaid expansion -- it was very successful at getting citizens enrolled in the Affordable Health Care health insurance market place. The new bill would penalize the state for that effort. A Kaiser Family Foundation study estimates we could see a $5.7 billion to $8.1 billion loss in health care funding under the Graham-Cassidy proposal.
This notion that Americans should have health coverage isn’t a pipedream puffed up by mushy do-gooders. President Donald Trump was unequivocal earlier this year.
“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump boasted to the Washington Post just days before he was inaugurated. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us. … It will be in a much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better.”
That is the standard the president set for his political party and Congress. How can Tillis and Burr even consider voting for a bill that falls so short of that goal?
It is past time to end the subterfuge and political wheeling and dealing.
Rather than fighting Obamacare, Tillis and Burr need to be working to improve the shortcomings of a program Americans have embraced.
BY THE NUMBERS: COSTS OF DENYING HEALTH INSURANCE IN N.C.
|Diabetics Without Medication*||81,132||12,286||101,436|
|Annual Mammograms Missed*||36,153||9,036||45,190|
|Deaths*||3,435 to 1,355||1,305 to 342||4,725 to 1,697|
|Federal Funding Lost**||$9 billion||$1.0908 billion||$10.0908 billion|
|Jobs Not Created**||43,700||10,557||44,257|
*Opting Out Of Medicaid Expansion: The Health And Financial Impacts, Health Affairs Blog
**The Economic and Employment Costs of Not Expanding Medicaid in N.C., Center for Health Policy Research, The George Washington University, Dec. 2014