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Action Alert: Fight New Health Care Legislation!

Beth Hess - Friday, September 22, 2017
The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Health Care Proposal, introduced in the U.S. Senate last week, is the worst “repeal and replace” effort yet.  Governor Hogan has joined a bi-partisan group of other governors in opposing the bill.

While both Senator Cardin and Senator Van Hollen already oppose the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson health care proposal, which would decimate services to children, youth and young adults with mental health and substance use disorders (along with many other people), Marylanders can still act to defeat the bill.  Comments can be sent to the Senate Finance Committee at GCHcomments@finance.senate.gov.

Some facts about the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill:
  • It allows states to drop the requirement to cover mental health or substance use care. Today, Exchange plans are required to cover essential health benefits, which include treatment for mental health and substance use conditions. Under this bill, each state will have the freedom to drop or change these requirements, putting mental health and substance use benefits at risk.
  • It shifts Medicaid funding to a “per capita cap” system. Shifting to per capita cap funding (a fixed amount of funding per person) may sound reasonable, but would not keep up with growth in costs and needs. This would result in states being forced to cut Medicaid services and eligibility, which would harm children and adults with mental illness.
  • It effectively ends Medicaid expansion. One in three people covered by Medicaid expansion plans lives with a mental health or substance use condition. Under this bill, Medicaid expansion would be converted to a smaller, temporary block grant that states could use for health coverage or any other health purpose, with no guarantee of mental health or substance use coverage.
  • It reduces help to purchase health insurance. Block grants would provide a fixed amount of temporary federal funding to replace insurance subsidies, severely cutting federal help for people to buy insurance. This will leave many people unable to afford the coverage they need for mental health or substance use treatment.
Please send an email to the Senate Finance Committee NOW urging members to VOTE NO on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Health Care Bill.

You can write your own email stating why you oppose the bill, or individualize the sample email below.
Please act now!
The Senate Finance Committee will be holding the only committee hearing on the bill on Monday, September 25

Sample email

Dear Members of the Senate Finance Committee:

I urge you to vote NO on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Health Care Proposal.  I am particularly concerned about the impact the bill will have on people with mental health or substance use disorders.  I oppose the bill for the following reasons:

It allows states to drop the requirement to cover mental health or substance use care. Today, Exchange plans are required to cover essential health benefits, which include treatment for mental health and substance use conditions. Under this bill, each state will have the freedom to drop or change these requirements, putting mental health and substance use benefits at risk.

It shifts Medicaid funding to a “per capita cap” system. Shifting to per capita cap funding (a fixed amount of funding per person) may sound reasonable, but would not keep up with growth in costs and needs. This would result in states being forced to cut Medicaid services and eligibility, which would harm children and adults with mental illness.

It effectively ends Medicaid expansion. One in three people covered by Medicaid expansion plans lives with a mental health or substance use condition. Under this bill, Medicaid expansion would be converted to a smaller, temporary block grant that states could use for health coverage or any other health purpose, with no guarantee of mental health or substance use coverage.

It reduces help to purchase health insurance. Block grants would provide a fixed amount of temporary federal funding to replace insurance subsidies, severely cutting federal help for people to buy insurance. This will leave many people unable to afford the coverage they need for mental health or substance use treatment.

Please vote NO on this potentially devastating bill.

Sincerely,
(Your name, address and email address)


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