The Graham-Cassidy Bill Will Cost People with Diabetes Money

JDRF and the ADA have come out against this newest effort to repeal Obamacare. Here’s an overview of the bill.



So … there’s another effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) underway. Republican lawmakers are trying to pass something known as the Graham-Cassidy bill.

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If the GOP wants to repeal Obamacare, they need to do it by September 30th under the complex legislative rule system that few people outside of Congress understand.

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The basic gist of the bill is that it ends Obamacare subsidies, Obamacare Medicaid expansion, and takes federal Medicaid funding and gives it to the states as block grants. More on this later.

Here are some ways the bill will affect people with diabetes:

As with some of the other proposed Obamacare repeal bills, it will give states the flexibility to allow insurance companies to charge more for those with preexisting conditions. The Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, used Medicare and Medicaid data to estimate that people with diabetes (without complications) could face a new premium of $5,600 annually under this provision.

Caveat – that’s just one estimate, and from a foe of the bill, but still….

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Wait, there’s more! The bill, if enacted, would repeal the individual mandate for health insurance and allow more people to opt for cheaper, catastrophic coverage insurance plans. This may be good for those who don’t use health care much, but it’s likely to drive up prices for those who need good insurance plans.

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Oh, and it would allow states to loosen rules on the essential health benefits that insurance plans would have to offer. You know, things like drug coverage and specialist visits.

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It would, however, repeal the medical device tax, which would be good for pump and CGM users. So there’s that.

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The bill would also cap funding on Medicaid and give the money to the states as block grants. In the past, when federal funds have been given back to the states to use, as with tobacco settlement money and welfare reform money, some states used that money for some questionable purposes that were unconnected to the original intent of the funding.

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Also, that funding would end by 2027. What happens then? No one knows exactly.

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Both JDRF and the American Diabetes Association have come out against the bill. In a joint statement with 14 other patient and provider advocacy groups, they stated that Graham-Cassidy “fails to provide Americans with what they need to maintain their health.”

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In the Senate, Republicans need to be unified on this bill for it to pass, and they have just two votes to spare. A small group of Republican senators have opposed the previous Obamacare bills this year, but so far only Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has said he’d vote against it…for not going far enough.

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Follow Insulin Nation on Twitter for regular updates about the fate of the bill.

For more information about the bill, you can read the following articles, as well as a Twitter account from a health care expert:

axios.com
vox.com
TopherSpiro
businessinsider.com
theatlantic.com
healthaffairs.org
time.com
jdrf.orgmoney.cnn.com

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Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.