After failing to pass health care reform earlier this year, Senate Republicans are at it again with a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The attempt has been dubbed “Zombie Trumpcare” as the effort to pass health care reform is back from the dead — and skilled nursing interest groups do not like this proposal any more than the last ones.
Republicans aren’t exactly working on a whole new song and dance, as the Graham-Cassidy Bill — after Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana — is remarkably similar to previous version of health care reform. Trumpcare supporters in the Senate are pushing through the bill as quickly as possible, as Republicans only have until September 30 to pass legislation under the reconciliation period, which enables bills to pass with just a simple majority.
The bill, which was introduced on Sept. 13, has already been met with backlash from the health care industry. Specifically, health care groups took issue with potentially huge cuts to Medicaid, the single largest payer of skilled nursing services.
“The latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act once again tries to solve the complicated question of health care reform by slashing hundreds of billions of dollars from the Medicaid program that funds essential care for the aged and disabled,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), said in a statement Tuesday. …”Medicaid already underfunds nursing center care by $7 billion annually. Skilled nursing centers across the country operate on razor-thin margins.”
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has stated it plans to provide a preliminary assessment of the bill’s cost and impact by early next week, just ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline. Yet the full impact is not yet fully known: CBO will not be able to provide estimates on the effects the bill would have on the deficit, health insurance coverage or premiums “for at least several weeks,” CBO stated.
President Trump would sign off on the bill if it is passed by Congress, CNN reported. The legislation could come to a vote on the Senate floor early next week, though it is unclear how close Republicans could be to securing 50 affirmative votes on the bill.
“There is no question that this bill will undermine care for vulnerable seniors and individuals with disabilities who rely on Medicaid for their daily long-term care,” Parkinson said. “Most of the one million people who reside in nursing centers rely on Medicaid, as well as tends of thousands of seniors in America’s assisted living communities.”
Written by Amy Baxter