Health care bill, Medicaid cuts could shutter state agencies

Posted Jun. 26, 2017 by

Union leaders are pushing back against the U.S. Senate's health care bill, not only because of the harm to individual coverage but also the burden it will put on state agencies. Under the GOP-drafted American Health Care Act (AHCA), 22 million fewer people would have health insurance and state Medicaid funds would be stripped by a massive $772 billion.

Cuts to Medicaid will have an enormous impact on how OCSEA members do their jobs. "We're talking deep, deep cuts that could shutter state agencies and lead to facility closures and layoffs across the state. DODD, MH, prisons, ODJFS, Veterans Home and more would all feel the pain of the Medicaid cuts," said OCSEA President Chris Mabe.

Under the bill, states would be given a chunk of Medicaid money, but when it's gone, it's gone, said Mabe. "This is a matter of the 'haves' versus 'have nots'," he said. Without federal matching funds, state safety nets would be dismantled, punishing the sick, the elderly, veterans, and the poor," said Mabe.

Take action now!

The AHCA vote has been delayed, because so many Senators are on the fence. Call Ohio's Senator Rob Portman at 888-865-8089.  Tell him to vote NO on Trumpcare. Tell him to protect Medicaid and the 22 million Americans who are at risk of losing their health care coverage.

Tax breaks for the wealthy contained within the bill leave Americans in middle incomes holding the bag. "The bill literally robs middle-income people to pad the pockets of the rich," said Mabe. The bill would eliminate the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) taxes on wealthy households and insurance and drug companies and greatly expand tax-sheltering opportunities for high-income people. Drug companies, which have contributed to the nation's opioid epidemic, would be highly rewarded.

The new bill would:
  • Slash Medicaid funding to states, causing millions of vulnerable Americans to lose coverage and resulting in deep cuts to state budgets;
  • Give tax handouts to the ultra-wealthy and insurance companies, creating deficits of millions of dollars;
  • Impose an “age tax” that would skyrocket the cost of health care plans sold to older Americans who don’t yet qualify for Medicare;
  • Cuts nearly all funding to treat opioid addiction, despite the rapidly-escalating crisis;
  • Allow insurance companies to sell plans that place annual and lifetime caps on coverage, which would raise out-of-pocket costs for people who get insurance through their jobs;
  •  Allow states to opt out of mandating Essential Health Benefits, or EHBs, which cover prescription drugs, hospitalization, maternity leave and more.

"The evidence is mounting: this bill is a bouquet of flowers for the wealthiest Americans, but a punch in the gut for working families," says AFSCME President Lee Saunders. 

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