New Research Highlights How People with Cancer Would Be Harmed by Graham-Cassidy
New research underscores the health benefits of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion. A study from the Journal of Clinical Oncology found states that expanded Medicaid saw a meaningful increase in cancer patients who were diagnosed in the early stages of development, allowing them to begin treatment when the disease was easier to treat. Unfortunately, passage of Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ), the latest GOP attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, could reverse this progress in cancer care.
The study’s results add to the growing mountain of evidence that shows how expanding Medicaid improves access to coverage and care for individuals and families. Not only that, but this evidence shows Medicaid expansion is an economic win for states, allowing them to draw down billions of federal dollars while reducing their own spending on providing care to the uninsured. In addition, safety net providers have seen a dramatic reduction in their uncompensated care costs, which has protected them from financial loss and allowed them to better serve their patients.
Although the evidence could not be clearer that expanding Medicaid is beneficial to people, communities and states, the GCHJ proposal would entirely eliminate federal funding for Medicaid expansion after 2026. Before then, states would see their expansion funding converted to block grants that would total $239 billion less in federal support, and would be distributed across states (including non-expansion states.)
Further, the proposal entirely ends Medicaid expansion – after 2019, states would no longer have an option to extend Medicaid to all low-income working-age adults, even at a reduced federal funding rate. And it even caps and slashes federal funding for the traditional Medicaid program that serves seniors, people living with disabilities and low-income children. Indeed, the proposal resurrects, and worsens, the devastating coverage losses, cost increases and rollback of consumer protections that the American public and the majority of Congress have already rejected in previous bills.
While new benefits of the ACA’s coverage expansion initiatives continue to surface, efforts to strip these benefits away from millions have not slowed down. Congress must stop the GCHJ plan in its tracks in order to protect these important gains for individuals and families and work in a bipartisan fashion to improve our health care system for everyone.