Never let your guard down! An effort to Repeal and Replace [the Affordable Care Act] has reared its ugly head again, threatening to take away healthcare from millions by ending Medicaid expansion (the Healthy Michigan Plan); raising costs for everyone; eliminating protections for pre-existing conditions; cutting coverage for low income seniors, children and the disabled; and attacking women's health and family planning.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will not have time to fully score this bill before September 30th, 2017, and so there are not as many details about the costs and implications of this bill as there would be otherwise. However, the CBO has rated similar bills, and under those bills, 15 million people would lose Medicaid alone, and 32 million people might lose insurance. The Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill also privileges rural states over urban/suburban states, and Michigan is a clear loser. Large cuts to funding begin in 2020 but accelerate over time. Follow this twitter thread for a lot of details.
But What About MIChild?
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides coverage to children who do not qualify for Medicaid but whose families cannot otherwise afford health insurance, is also under attack. In Michigan, CHIP is the MIChild program. CHIP funding is set to expire on September 30, 2017. Although there is, in principle, bipartisan agreement on extending the CHIP program, including MIChild, this agreement is being set aside while the Senate focuses on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill.
This piece from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families does a good job explaining the conflict between the two efforts. As Kelly Whitener writes,
For example, it would not be possible to have a good faith negotiation on extending CHIP funding (which covers 9 million children) while there is a live debate on gutting Medicaid (which covers 37 million children). This is not simply a matter of Congress learning to multi-task – you simply cannot work toward two totally different goals simultaneously.
Without CHIP renewal, MIChild will end when the state's reserve runs out (likely, early spring of 2018). This puts the health of over 40,000 of Michigan's children at risk.
Please let your senators and representatives know how you feel.
NOTE: Many thanks to the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, the Washtenaw County Board of Health, and the Washtenaw Health Plan Board of Directors for opposing attempts to repeal or weaken the Affordable Care Act.