Talking Points|Health Care   3 Minute Read

Ten Ways that Graham-Cassidy Guts Health Care Protections

Published September 25, 2017

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The Graham-Cassidy health care bill is terrible. This last-ditch effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is yet another effort to bring an unforced catastrophe to our health care system. Here are 10 reasons why Congress should oppose this law.

1. A hundred and thirty-three million Americans with pre-existing conditions would face discrimination from higher premiums and fewer benefits.

Under Graham-Cassidy, states will no longer have to follow a number of consumer protections enacted under the Affordable Care Act. They will be able to discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions—leaving them with a higher bill and less service.

2. Premiums will be jacked up by 20% to 25%.

Since Graham-Cassidy would immediately repeal the requirement to purchase coverage, premiums would rise 20% to 25% for individually purchased coverage according to the Congressional Budget Office.

3. Forty-eight million older Americans would no longer have guaranteed coverage for long term care.

Graham-Cassidy would end the requirement for states to provide long-term care coverage under Medicaid for older Americans who cannot afford to pay for long-term care on their own. The limited federal block grant funding replacement would not be enough for states to cover both long-term care for the elderly and health care for the poor.

4. Coverage under Cassidy-Graham ends for everyone in 2026.

The Graham-Cassidy block grant expires in 2026. That means coverage for millions will end in less than a decade.

5. Families will again face the threat of medical bankruptcy.

Under the ACA, no one could be forced into bankruptcy due to extraordinary health care costs. Graham-Cassidy allows states to waive the prohibition against annual and lifetime limits on health care benefits.

6. A 60-year-old earning $25,000 a year could see his or her premiums increase by as much as $10,572 in 2020.

Graham-Cassidy would eliminate the affordability standard in the Affordable Care Act protection that prevents premiums from exceeding a percentage of a person’s income. The AARP has estimated massive premium increases for millions of Americans. 

7. Say goodbye to guaranteed maternity coverage.

Under Graham-Cassidy, states could waive the requirement for maternity coverage. Prior to the protections offered by the ACA only 25% of individually purchased health plans had maternity coverage due to pressure to keep premiums low.

8. Say goodbye to coverage that protects women’s reproductive rights.

Graham-Cassidy would eliminate private health care coverage for abortion (except to save the life of the woman or in a case of rape or incest) when federal funds offset any portion of her insurance premium. It would eliminate that abortion coverage even when a woman uses her own money to pay for the share of the premiums that covers the cost of abortions.

9. Preventive care for 12 million Americans would be at risk.

Graham-Cassidy would allow states to eliminate required coverage for preventive benefits. States would likely reduce or eliminate preventive care due to pressure to lower premiums.

10. A hundred and fifty-seven million Americans would face job-lock.

Today, 157 million Americans receive coverage through their employer. Thanks to the ACA, if they want to leave their job and start a business or care for a loved one, they are guaranteed affordable coverage. Graham-Cassidy would end those protections—locking people into their current job situation.

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