Levin to Governor: Speak Out on Senate’s Trumpcare Bill

Jun 26, 2017 Issues: Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Sander Levin (MI-09), today sent a letter to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, urging him to highlight any concerns he might have about the Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act released last week. Earlier this spring, Gov. Snyder sent a letter highlighting his many concerns with the House-passed American Health Care Act.

 “The Senate’s approach phases out Medicaid expansion more slowly than the House bill, but it poses the same fundamental threat to the health and economy of our state in the long-term. The Senate draft establishes even worse per capita funding caps than the House bill – with an inadequate inflation adjustment that decreases substantially after 2025. This will ultimately lead to long-term underfunding of Medicaid, placing tremendous financial pressures on states and jeopardizing access to care for millions of Americans,” Rep. Levin wrote. “While the full impact of these draconian cuts will be felt after your governorship, they will frightfully undermine the benefits of the steps taken to create Healthy Michigan under your tenure.”

Thirty-two states including the District of Columbia and Michigan have expanded Medicaid.

A pdf of the letter is available here, and the full text is below:

Dear Governor Snyder:

In March, you wrote to me to express your grave concerns with the American Health Care Act, the House’s proposal to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. In your letter, you expressed alarm at the bill’s dramatic cuts to Medicaid that would “adversely impact” thousands of Michiganders, telling me that “these are our state’s most vulnerable citizens, friends and neighbors.” Your letter provided a clear analysis of the devastating effect this bill would have on the people of Michigan. As the Senate rushes to consider companion legislation that is as harmful as – and in some ways even worse – than the bill passed by the House last month, I urge you to stand again with the people of Michigan and highlight any concerns you have about this damaging legislation.

As you know, the Affordable Care Act has resulted in dramatic improvements in health coverage for the American people and the people of Michigan. Since enactment of this landmark law, the number of uninsured individuals has declined to record low levels, dropping to 6.4 percent in Michigan. More than 310,000 consumers in our state enrolled in individual coverage through the Marketplace last year, and more than 657,000 receive coverage through the Healthy Michigan Medicaid expansion. In addition to providing lifesaving access to affordable health care, this has had a major economic impact throughout the state. Thanks primarily to the state’s successful expansion of Medicaid, Michigan hospitals have seen a nearly 50 percent reduction in uncompensated care. In addition, researchers at the University of Michigan have determined that Medicaid expansion has created 30,000 jobs and generated $2.3 billion in economic benefit for the state. In total, provisions of the Affordable Care Act are projected to bring $38.2 billion in federal funding to Michigan between 2019 and 2028, which will further strengthen the economy and help support job growth in our state.

Unfortunately, both the House and Senate bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act would roll back this progress and jeopardize the health and economic wellbeing of the people of Michigan. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the House bill would result in 23 million fewer Americans having health coverage, including 14 million Medicaid beneficiaries who would be harmed by program cuts of over $830 billion. The economic consequences for our state would be severe. A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund determined that the House bill would lead to a 134 percent increase in uncompensated care in Michigan, resulting in a more than 20 percent reduction in Medicaid revenues for our hospitals. In total, Commonwealth estimates that Michigan will be one of the ten states hardest hit under the House bill, which will cost our state 51,000 jobs and reduce business output by $8 billion.

The draft legislation recently released by the Senate does nothing to reduce the harmful impact of the House bill. Among the many draconian provisions in the draft are its massive cuts to Medicaid that will eliminate the expansion and shift costs onto states, patients, and hospitals. The Senate’s approach phases out Medicaid expansion more slowly than the House bill, but it poses the same fundamental threat to the health and economy of our state in the long-term. The Senate draft establishes even worse per capita funding caps than the House bill – with an inadequate inflation adjustment that decreases substantially after 2025. This will ultimately lead to long-term underfunding of Medicaid, placing tremendous financial pressures on states and jeopardizing access to care for millions of Americans. While the full impact of these draconian cuts will be felt after your governorship, they will frightfully undermine the benefits of the steps taken to create Healthy Michigan under your tenure.

Leading groups representing patients, providers, hospitals, and people of faith have taken a firm stand against this legislation. In just a matter of days we have already heard condemnation of the Senate’s bill from groups such as AARP, American Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, Association of American Medical Colleges, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, America’s Essential Hospitals, and Catholic Health Association. In the coming days we can expect outrage to grow as the public becomes more aware of the harm this legislation will cause.

The Senate plans to move quickly, bypassing the committee process and leaving the public little opportunity for meaningful debate and analysis. As you continue to hear from your constituents about the disastrous consequences of this proposal, I urge you to stand with the people of Michigan and publicly highlight the impact this legislation would have on our state.

Sincerely,

Sander M. Levin
Member of Congress

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