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L4GG Response to Graham-Cassidy Amendment

The letter below was mailed to 52 senators today on behalf of Lawyers for Good Government. For ease of reading, the text of the letter is included beneath the image.

Letter to 52 senators re: Graham-Cassidy Amendment

Dear Senator:

I am writing on behalf of the more than 125,000 members of Lawyers for Good Government—a nationwide coalition of legal professionals with members in all fifty states—to urge you to vote “no” on the proposed Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment to H.R. 1628, as introduced on September 13, 2017.

While the previous incarnations of this effort to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act have been harsh, this proposal would be devastating. As drafted, the bill would:

  • leave another 32 million people uninsured;
  • strip vital funding from the expanded Medicaid programs in the states whose governments accepted the responsibility to care for their most vulnerable citizens;
  • cut approximately $250 billion from Medicaid by converting its funding model to a per capita/block grant model;
  • remove flexibility for all states to respond to recessions, natural disasters, pandemics, etc. by capping health insurance funding; and
  • allow states to remove the “essential health benefit” protections that provided coverage for the kind of preventive treatments that will reduce health care costs in the long run.

The supporters of this proposal have touted as its primary strength the idea that it allows the states to function as “laboratories of democracy, allowed to innovate to find solutions.” And yet, citing some misplaced idea of fairness, this plan would drastically cut funding for Medicaid, ACA exchanges, cost-sharing reductions, and other federal health subsidies to the states that committed to making the Affordable Care Act work for their citizens. While experimentation and innovation are critical to the success of any policy, it would be irresponsible at best for the federal government to turn the health insurance market into a “Wild West” of varying levels of coverage, subject to political whim.

We urge all senators to support the current bipartisan proposals to stabilize and strengthen, and improve our current health care system. It is long past time to settle old political scores or “play to the base” by putting millions of Americans’ lives at risk.


Robert S. Chaloupka

Co-Chair, Health Care Policy Subcommittee

Lawyers for Good Government

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