Nadler blasts latest GOP effort to repeal Obamacare

Calls Graham-Cassidy bill ‘desperate, last gasp’ move

September 21, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler says Americans with pre-existing health conditions would be hurt under the new Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  Photo courtesy of Nadler’s office
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As the latest Republican Party effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) appeared to be gaining momentum in the U.S. Senate, an outspoken Brooklyn lawmaker has come out against the GOP’s move.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-parts of Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge) said he is opposed to the Graham-Cassidy health care repeal bill, calling the proposed legislation the GOP’s “cruelest plan yet.”

The Graham-Cassidy bill, sponsored by U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), would overhaul the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by taking the decision making power over health care coverage away from the federal government and putting it into the hands of the states through a block grant system.

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Under the bill, each state would be free to set up its own health care system.

The bill could come up for a vote in the U.S. Senate next week. If it passes, it would then go to the House for a vote.

“The Graham-Cassidy health care repeal bill would be devastating to millions of American families. In a desperate, last gasp effort to pass something — anything — from their agenda, the Republicans have come up with possibly their cruelest plan yet,” Nadler said in a statement.

Nadler argued that the GOP-backed program, which would eliminate health insurance subsidies and funding for the Medicaid expansion and replace them with a block grant system, would be “woefully underfunded for the actual costs of providing care.”

Under such a system, New York state would stand to lose $18.9 billion in federal funding and would be forced to either raise taxes or leave millions of people uninsured, Nadler said.

“But the money is just one problem with Graham-Cassidy, which strips away nearly all the consumer protections we fought so hard for in the ACA. The bill allows states to waive protections for pre-existing conditions, which will make premiums skyrocket for anyone who has been sick before. The bill also allows states to stop requiring coverage of essential benefits, meaning you would have to pay out of pocket for your prescription drugs, maternity care, cancer care or emergency room visits,” Nadler said.

“We must not go back to a time when insurance companies decided who lived and who died, when people suffered and died with treatable diseases because they couldn’t afford insurance or the insurance they could afford wouldn’t cover their basic needs,” Nadler added.

But Cassidy defended the bill, telling CNN that his proposed legislation would allow more people to be covered.

Cassidy, a gastroenterologist, stated that the bill and he Graham have crafted would protect people with pre-existing conditions.

The bill would allow states to waive an ACA mandate that prevents insurers from charging people with pre-existing medical conditions higher premiums.

“There is a specific provision that says that if a state applies for a waiver, it must ensure that those with pre-existing conditions have affordable and adequate coverage,” Cassidy told CNN.

The debate entered a new phase earlier this week when comedian Jimmy Kimmel, host of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” blasted Graham-Cassidy and called Cassidy a liar. The GOP senator had told the late night TV host several months ago that he wouldn’t be in favor of a repeal of Obamacare unless it could pass the “Jimmy Kimmel Test.”

Kimmel made headlines earlier this year when he talked on the air about the plight of his newborn son who has a heart condition and underwent open heart surgery when he was a few days old. Kimmel wondered aloud why all families, regardless of their financial circumstances, should not have access to the best health care possible for their children.

Graham-Cassidy reneges on the promise of giving all families affordable health care, Kimmel charged on his show this week.

Cassidy defended himself against Kimmel.

“I am sorry he does not understand,” Cassidy told CNN, adding that the bill would increase, not decrease, the number of Americans covered by health insurance.

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