Press Release: Senate Reveals Healthcare Bill with Huge Cuts to Medicaid and Insurance Coverage

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 22, 2017

CONTACTS: Chase Thomas | Alliance for a Better Utah | chase@betterutah.org | 480.532.1880

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SENATE REVEALS HEALTHCARE BILL

WITH HUGE CUTS TO MEDICAID AND INSURANCE COVERAGE

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Salt Lake City, UT – This morning, Senate Republicans released their health care repeal bill which a group of Senators, including Utah’s Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch, have been drafting behind closed doors for several weeks. The “repeal and replace” bill severely cuts Medicaid and makes heavy slashes to policies under the Affordable Care Act, changes that would affect large populations here in Utah.

Medicaid, a federal/state program that provides health coverage for low-income families and other needy populations, including children, will receive huge cuts in exchange for lower taxes on high-income earners. In addition, Medicaid’s financing would shift from its current costs-based structure to a per-capita system or one based on block grants, depending on what states choose, a change that most predict would seriously underfund the program with time. The bill would also allow states to waive what insurers are required to cover, weakening protections for employer and individual plans. This is in addition to getting rid of the employer and individual mandates, and allowing older Americans to be charged more for their coverage.

“In a nation that already sees a growing gap in wealth, a bill designed to cut funding for the poor and provide tax breaks for the wealthy will only make matters worse for working class families fighting to stay above the poverty line,” said Chase Thomas, policy and advocacy counsel with Alliance for a Better Utah. “This bill would decimate Medicaid, leaving millions of low-income individuals without coverage. Middle class families would face higher premiums while high-income individuals benefit from tax cuts. Not only does this bill make health care harder to obtain for those who need it, but it also makes the quality of coverage worse for all Americans who depend on it.”

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell hopes to have the bill voted on by next Thursday before more opposition can build and the Senate breaks for recess. However, the bill is still lacking 50 votes because of opposition from Democrats and hesitation from a few Republicans, including Utah’s Senator Mike Lee.

On one side you have the most conservative senators who think the government should not be in the healthcare business. That’s a respectable position even if we disagree,” said Josh Kanter, board chair of the Alliance for a Better Utah. “At the other end you have a more compassionate point of view that says the government must address this problem. But in the middle, unfortunately, we have a majority of Republican senators who continue to worship at the altar of disproven trickle down economics. These Senators believe that those who need government assistance are simply not trying hard enough or that giving tax cuts to the wealthy will solve all problems. There is simply no defensible ideology behind that point of view when it leads to the suffering or death of those around us.”

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About the Alliance for a Better Utah:

Alliance for a Better Utah is a good government advocacy and watchdog organization based in Salt Lake City. The organization works to improve the lives of all Utahns by ensuring balance, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.

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