A tweet from Andy Slavitt, President Obama’s former Medicaid chief, is sending shockwaves through social media. The former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services just tweeted out that the bipartisan Medicaid Directors from all fifty U.S. states have issued a joint negative statement about the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill.
BREAKING: The bipartisan Medicaid Directors from all 50 states just issued this negative statement about Graham-Cassidy.
Big. Very unusual. pic.twitter.com/ZtqaAI8hg1
— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) September 22, 2017
In the letter, the fifty Medicaid Directors did not hold back their criticism of proposed legislation, which Republicans are strong-arming to a vote late next week:
The Board of Directors of the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) urges Congress to carefully consider the significant challenges posed by the Graham-Cassidy legislation. State Medicaid Directors are strong proponents of state innovation in the drive towards health care system transformation. Our members are committed to ensuring the programs we operate improve health outcomes while also being fiscally responsible to state and federal taxpayers. In order to succeed, however, these efforts must be taken in a thoughtful, deliberative, and responsible way. We are concerned that this legislation would undermine these efforts in many states and fail to deliver on our collective goal of an improved healthcare system.
They then proceed to enumerate in detail all the ways that Graham-Cassidy will harm both health care outcomes and fiscal responsibility, citing “the apparent lack of federal funding in the bill to support these critical activities,” and the fact that Republican lawmakers are in a “rush” to pass the bill without “thorough discussion, examination, and analysis.”
They reiterated the concerns they had laid out in a June 26 statement protesting the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, one of the Republicans’ prior attempts to repeal Obamacare: “[T]he per capita cap growth rates for Medicaid in the Senate bill are insufficient and unworkable.” Unlike the June statement, however, today’s was unanimous.
Numerous Republican Senators admit that the bill is bad for America, but that they want to pass it anyway, in order to get re-elected (and, ostensibly, erase the legacy of America’s first black president). In fact, some are inadvertently admitting that the Affordable Care Act — aka, Obamacare — is a much better deal for Americans by attempting to bribe Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski to vote for Graham-Cassidy by saying her state, along with Hawaii, can keep Obamacare.
If your bill is so bad that you have to bribe your colleagues to vote for it by saying they can keep Obamacare, then perhaps you should heed the unanimous 50-state warning of America’s Medicaid Directors and go back to the drawing board.
You could, for example, build on Obamacare toward an even more inclusive healthcare system.