New Threats to Medicaid: Call for Action

From The Arc-Washington State

Save Medicaid graphic with text that reads Cutting and capping Medicaid will have deadly consequences

This is not a drill, there has been action around the Graham-Cassidy bill that was introduced last week. They have until September 30th to pass the bill and there is a full court press. The time to act is NOW!

The newest version of the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Health Care bill may be on a fast track for a Senate vote before the authority for passage by a simple majority under the budget reconciliation instructions expires on September 30.

Reports from the Senate indicate that Senators Graham (R-SC) and Cassidy (R-LA) have nearly the 50 votes needed for the bill to trigger a tie-breaking vote by Vice-President Mike Pence for passage. If successful, expectations are that the bill would go immediately to the House floor for passage and then to the President for signature. This would be a devastating blow to people with disabilities and their families who have worked so hard this year to prevent block grants and per capita caps from destroying the Medicaid program—a program which provides basic health care and long term supports which make it possible for millions of people to live as independently as possible in their home communities.

As a reminder the Graham-Cassidy bill is just as bad, if not worse than the previous healthcare bill:

  • Medicaid per capita cap: The Graham-Cassidy proposal would cap and cut Medicaid for seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children, cutting funding outside expansion by about $175 billion between 2020 and 2026. By 2026, the cut to the rest of Medicaid would equal $39 billion, or 8 percent. States would also be on the hook for any and all higher unanticipated health costs per beneficiary including the cost of new breakthrough treatments and costs the cap doesn’t account for like aging of the population. These cuts would grow much larger in coming decades. That’s because starting in 2025, the bill would further cut the annual adjustment of per-capita-cap well below projected increases in per-beneficiary costs. Faced with these cost and risk shifts, states would have no choice but to institute deep and growing cuts to seniors, people with disabilities and families with children, with certain services – such as home- and community-based care for seniors and people with disabilities – especially at risk.
  • Protections for people with pre-existing conditions: Similar to the House bill’s “MacArthur amendment,” the Cassidy-Graham bill would let states waive the ACA’s prohibition on charging people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums as well as its essential health benefit requirements. When it analyzed the House waivers, CBO concluded that in parts of the country, people with pre-existing conditions “might not be able to purchase coverage at all,” and in states accounting for half the nation’s population, plans would be able to go back to excluding services like rehabilitation and habilitation services.
  • Medicaid expansion: The plan would completely eliminate the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid by 2026, which has extended coverage to 11 million low-income adults.


Congress needs to continue to hear from the disability community about the importance of Medicaid. Call or email your Members of Congress to tell them to oppose any cuts to Medicaid, oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill, and work in a bi-partisan manner through regular order.

The Arc US created an action alert. Please share with your networks, with a message of extreme urgency, September 30th is less than two weeks away! Share on social media directly from The Arc’s facebook post.


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