The US Senate has finally revealed a draft of the healthcare bill they have been drafting in secret to repeal integral provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We now understand why the 13 working members responsible for the draft have been reluctant to let anyone see the proposal, as the bill will have dire consequences for access to healthcare in our country. The bill will do the following:
- Impose draconian cuts on Medicaid, a program which more than 1.1 million South Carolinians—including 630,000 children—rely on for access to regular, quality health care shifting almost $2 billion to the state over 10 years. This is a 78% increase;
- Set a lower inflation rate in the final year—2025—cutting Medicaid even deeper than the House bill and making it harder on states;
- Allow states to have a block grant for certain Medicaid categories;
- The cuts in Medicaid would inevitably cause states, including South Carolina, to cut services and tighten enrollment;
- Optional services like prescription drugs could be eliminated;
- South Carolina could eliminate many of its waivers;
- Children’s wraparound services and school services would most likely be eliminated;
- The Senate doesn’t take the one step that could clearly help children: extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Instead, the Senate bill uses the CHIP program as a mechanism to run dollars through for its new “State Stability and Innovation Program” which has nothing to do with CHIP and will add huge administrative burdens on states;
- Dramatically cut health care treatments for people with substance use disorders;
- End Medicaid expansion completely after a 3-year phase out, permanently ending South Carolina’s opportunity to use this program to extend coverage to South Carolinians who need it;
- Allow insurance companies to discriminate against older adults;
- Allow insurance companies to deny coverage for maternity care, mental health care, and substance use care;
- Allow states to apply for waivers to scale back what private insurance plans must cover, allowing plans to eliminate Mental Health parity and SUD services;
- Fund tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.
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