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CA Department of Insurance

Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal bill another attempt to deny Americans health care access

News: 2017 Press Release

For Release: September 20, 2017
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal bill another attempt to deny Americans health care access
Insurance Commissioner issues statement in opposition to Republican bill
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today made the following statement regarding the Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal bill:

"The Senate Republican leadership intends to irresponsibly jam through the Graham-Cassidy bill next week without meaningful hearings, without a full CBO score detailing its impact on health coverage and premiums, and without the opportunity for amendment or debate. It seems every month a new bill is floated that proposes to take years off of people's lives by denying them access to health care.

Time and time again, the message from the public has been clear – don't take away our health care, don't destroy Medicaid, don't impose penalties on those with pre-existing conditions, don't impose limits on lifetime benefits, don't remove coverage for maternity care or mental health or any other essential service, don't defund Planned Parenthood - what part of "no" don't these Republican lawmakers understand?

This bill would devastate the health safety net Americans have relied on for 50 years, placing billions of dollars in costs on states and imperiling health coverage for Californians. In the end, states are left holding the bag for the Medicaid program due to federal funding levels that fail to consider actual medical costs or economic downturns, and are designed to grow at a rate less than inflation, placing tremendous strain on state budgets.

If the Graham-Cassidy bill passes out of the Senate next week, Republicans representing California in Congress, such as Representative Issa of Orange County, and Majority Leader McCarthy of Kern County, will be faced with a choice: will they protect the health of Californians, and California's ability to pay for education, public safety, and infrastructure, by rejecting this bill, or will they bend to President Trump's need for a "win," heedless of the impact on their constituents?

As California's elected Insurance Commissioner, responsible for the largest insurance market in the country, I join the American Association of Retired Persons, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network, the March of Dimes, the National Heath Council, the American Diabetes Association, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Arthritis Foundation, and the Cystic Fibrosis Association and many others in opposing Graham-Cassidy. I also join the governors of Colorado, Ohio, Alaska, Montana, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Louisiana, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Vermont in opposing the Republican leadership's rush to ram this bill through, without regard for its impact on millions of Americans."

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Media Notes:

  • This bill fundamentally, and catastrophically, restructures Medicaid, (which covers almost 14 million Californians) by going far beyond any attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This bill eliminates the ACA's premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion funding by 2020, and leaves in its wake only a capped block grant for the remaining Medicaid coverage, sharply reducing reduce the funds available for adults by 37%, for children by 31%, for disabled Americans by 15%, and for the elderly by 2% by 2036, for a total loss of more than four trillion dollars from this essential program.[i] California alone would lose 800 billion dollars, a 41% drop from current funding levels, by 2036.
  • The Graham-Cassidy bill punishes California for its success in reducing the number of uninsured Californians. It also contains a formula that would reduce the funds California receives compared to other states. By 2026, the combined effect of the inadequate block grant in the Cassidy-Graham bill, and the per capita cap on Medi-Cal, would result in California losing almost $78 billion in needed funds.
  • The Graham-Cassidy bill would also remove federal protections prohibiting premium increases based on pre-existing conditions, or on health history after you obtain coverage. It removes federal protections that require that essential health benefits be covered, which harms those who buy their own coverage as well as those with employer-based coverage. The Graham-Cassidy bill eliminates the requirements that keep the insurance risk pool robust and healthy; it will destabilize the market and cause premiums in the individual market to soar. The Graham-Cassidy bill also eliminates the Prevention and Public Health fund, reducing 12% of the funding for the prevention of disease pandemics. The bill even cynically drops the funding for the treatment of opioid addiction found in earlier repeal efforts. 


[1] "Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Bill Would Reduce Federal Funding to States by $215 billion", Elizabeth Carpenter & Chris Sloan, Avalere, Sept 20, 2017.


The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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