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Congressman Tom O´Halleran

Representing the 1st District of Arizona

O’Halleran: Senate Health Care Bill Slashes Medicaid, Harms Arizonans

June 26, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) issued a statement following recent reports by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) on the impact of the U.S. Senate’s health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). According to the CBO, the health care bill will leave an estimated 22 million without insurance by 2026, and the AHCCCS analysis shows the repeal and replace bill could cost Arizona as much as $7.1 billion through 2026. 

“These reports highlight my concerns about the Senate’s health care legislation. The proposed drastic cuts to Medicaid will harm hundreds of thousands of hardworking families and young children, our elderly, veterans, and Native Americans. While Congress plays partisan politics with our nation’s health care laws, our families, friends, and neighbors could lose lifesaving coverage.

“From the beginning, this legislation has been crafted behind closed doors with little to no input from doctors, nurses, and health care leaders. Our health care system is broken, but this is no way to fix it. With the cost of uncompensated care expected to increase and the lack of affordable coverage for those who truly need it, it is imperative, now more than ever, that we work together on bipartisan legislation that helps brings down costs and protects coverage.”

The AHCCCS analysis concludes that the $7.1 billion in costs would come from a loss in federal funds, a change in the hospital assessment that covers costs of the 2013 Medicaid expansion, and limited inflation adjustments. In order to avoid the skyrocketing $7.1 billion in new costs, AHCCCS would have to throw more than 400,000 Arizonans off Medicaid. Included in those who could lose coverage are 28,900 cancer and tumor patients, 80,800 with mental health problems, and those over 50 who are not old enough to qualify for Medicare. The report does not estimate the impact on the cost of private insurance or Arizona’s health care network.

The initial CBO analysis of the BCRA shows a potential loss of health coverage for 22 million Americans, a similar conclusion to the analysis of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) which would leave 23 million without access to affordable coverage. Both health care bills would decrease the deficit by more than 300 billion over 10 years.

Medicaid has long been a cooperative agreement between states and the federal government, with the funding from the federal government offsetting the cost of providing coverage for low-income Americans in each state. The BRCA rolls back the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and shifts the cost burden to states.