Following is a message from the BLET Mobilization Team regarding the current “Graham-Cassidy” legislation the Senate is trying to fast track through the process. Time is of the essence as the Senate is required by the reconciliation process to pass this bill by September 30, 2017. All Auxiliary members, BLET members (active and retired), and their immediate and extended family members are strongly urged to contact their Senators ASAP to ask them to VOTE NO on this harmful legislation!
The Republican Majority is up against a deadline to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They have been trying to pass the bill using a legislative process called reconciliation. They are doing this because reconciliation allows them to pass a bill with a simple majority and no threat of filibuster. But their ability to use reconciliation to fast-track a repeal and replace bill is limited by a budget resolution that Congress passed earlier this year, which expires on September 30. So, Republicans are racing to get a bill to the floor in the Senate that can get 51 votes. This bill/amendment is being referred to as “Graham-Cassidy” after the lead sponsors of the amendment, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). This bill/amendment is no better than past attempts to repeal and replace the ACA and even worse than previous versions.
This legislation will impact Americans in the following manner:
- The Graham-Cassidy amendment to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will eliminate certain taxes like the medical device tax but retains the 40 percent excise tax on high quality health care plans also known as the “Cadillac Tax.”
- Eliminate protections mandated in the ACA that prevent against lifetime caps, unrestricted pricing, disparity of insurance for individuals with preexisting conditions, and that ensure basic minimum coverage are severely weakened in “Graham-Cassidy” by the inclusion of gaping loopholes that grant states “flexibility” and waivers from those mandates.
- “Graham-Cassidy” also eviscerates the current Medicaid program by ending state Medicaid expansion, converting the program to block grants, and reduces Medicaid funding by converting Federal Medicaid funding to a per capita allotment.
- Millions of Americans will lose their health care coverage.
At this point, it is unclear whether or not Senate Republicans have the votes to pass Graham- Cassidy. Majority Leader McConnell is being outwardly confident by scheduling a vote as early as next Wednesday, but truly anything could happen between now and then. We will continue to update you as this process unfolds.
All BLET members and their families are encouraged to reach out to the following offices to urge a “NO VOTE” on Graham-Cassidy. Sen. McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Collins (R-ME), Sen. Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Capito (R-WV), Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Portman (R-OH), Sen. Moran (R-KS), Sen. Roberts (R-KS), Sen. Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Cotton (R-AR). The U.S. Capitol switchboard is: (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.