Federal Spotlight: Health Care Reform Not Dead Yet

September 21, 2017

Efforts are underway to make one last push to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Graham-Cassidy bill, named after the top two sponsors of the legislation—Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)—seeks to take ACA money used to fund Medicaid expansion and subsidies and instead use those resources as block grants to the states.

Approximately $500 billion would be divided among the states through a formula and would allow the states the flexibility and authority to make decisions regarding Medicaid and health care for their constituents. States that expanded Medicaid under the ACA are likely to lose more federal money than gain the way the bill is written right now. The proposed block grants to the states will expire in 2026.

The legislation also repeals the employer mandate, the individual mandate, the medical device tax and the essential health benefits provision in the ACA. Time is of the essence, as Republicans only have until the end of the month to repeal the ACA with a simple majority in the Senate, because they are using the arcane method of budget reconciliation to avoid a filibuster by Democrats. This situation remains extremely fluid and is something ABI will continue to follow closely.