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[junkie-alert style=”green”] Standing for more than 114 million Americans living with or at risk for diabetes, the American Diabetes Association urges the United States Senate to reject the Graham-Cassidy proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The only scheduled hearing for the Graham-Cassidy bill began earlier today in the United States Senate, and the bill is expected to go to the floor for a vote by the end of this week. [/junkie-alert]
Access to affordable, adequate health coverage is critical to people with diabetes. The proposed legislation does not guarantee this access, and it would also increase costs for those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes. The bill jeopardizes the ability for people with diabetes to effectively manage their chronic illness and to prevent dangerous and costly complications. We urge all senators to vote against this misguided and harmful legislation, should it be brought to a vote in the Senate.
We are deeply troubled by many aspects of the Graham-Cassidy bill. It allows states to opt out of key insurance protections for patients, undermining safeguards for people with pre-existing conditions and requirements for adequate coverage. In addition, due to cuts to vital health care funding, states will have limited funds necessary to support several critical health care programs and will be forced to make difficult trade-offs in determining how the funds are used. Even worse, Graham-Cassidy ends all funding after 2026.
The bill also makes drastic changes to the financing structure of the Medicaid program. These cuts would have a devastating impact on low-income Americans, who are disproportionately affected by diabetes. In states that expanded their Medicaid programs, more individuals are being screened for diabetes than non-expansion states. Cuts to Medicaid would leave the most vulnerable individuals with, or at risk for, diabetes without the health coverage they need to be diagnosed and treated for the disease as early as possible.
We are also alarmed that the Senate would vote on this legislation without understanding its full impact on insurance coverage for millions of Americans. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently announced that they would need several weeks to provide an estimate on the number of Americans who might lose coverage under Graham-Cassidy. We ask that Senate leadership, at the very least, take the time to have a full understanding of the impact this legislation will have on all Americans. The health and lives of millions of Americans with diabetes are at risk.
We oppose the Graham-Cassidy legislation because it falls far short of the minimum standards for replacing the important safeguards and coverage provided by the ACA, which we have previously outlined. We urge the Senate to reject this bill and continue negotiations on a bipartisan health care bill that will protect access to affordable and adequate health coverage for people with diabetes and all Americans. We encourage all citizens to call their senators at 202-224-3121 and tell them to vote no on the Graham-Cassidy bill.