For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Caitlin Cook
(Charleston, WV) - A new ACA repeal bill would cut West Virginia's federal funding for health coverage by $284 million by 2026, according to a report released today by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Congressional Republicans' efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have failed in recent months in large part because a vast majority of Americans oppose taking coverage from millions of people, raising costs for millions more, gutting Medicaid and undermining consumer protections.
This has opened the door to another path: a transparent, bipartisan effort to strengthen our health care system without taking people's coverage away or gutting Medicaid. The public supports this approach and bipartisan Senate hearings slated for September offer a first step forward.
Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham are reportedly working with the White House to block this emerging, bipartisan path and instead revive the ACA repeal effort by pushing their own version of a repeal bill, the Cassidy-Graham proposal.
"Despite claims to the contrary, the Cassidy-Graham plan is just another ACA repeal bill and would have the same devastating effects on West Virginia as the previous, failed GOP repeal bills," said Sean O'Leary of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. "Like every other ACA repeal bill, it would take coverage from thousands of West Virginians and tens of millions nationwide."
The plan would eliminate the ACA Medicaid expansion, which covers 170,000 West Virginians. It would also eliminate tax credits that help 25,841 moderate-income West Virginians afford marketplace coverage and subsidies that help low-income West Virginians with out-of-pocket health costs like copays.
A far smaller block grant would replace both Medicaid expansion funding and marketplace subsidies, and the plan would also cap and deeply cut the rest of the Medicaid program just like previous Senate and House repeal bills. And, after 2026, the block grant would disappear entirely leaving West Virginians high and dry.
"The public, experts across the political spectrum, and groups representing patients, hospitals, physicians, seniors, people with disabilities and others have forcefully and repeatedly rejected this misguided approach, said O'Leary. "It's time to focus on bipartisan solutions that strengthen - rather than weaken -- our health care system."
The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy is a public policy research organization that is nonpartisan, nonprofit, and statewide. The Center focuses on how policy decisions affect all West Virginians, especially low- and moderate-income families.