"The legislation you’ve introduced this past week gravely threatens health care access and coverage for our state and its people."
Highlighting the extraordinary lengths one of Louisiana’s Republican senators is willing to go to act against his state’s self-interests, Louisiana’s top health care official eviscerated Sen. Bill Cassidy for championing a bill that the GOP is trying to jam through Congress before the end of the month.
“The legislation you’ve introduced this past week gravely threatens health care access and coverage for our state and its people,” the state’s health secretary, Rebekah Gee, wrote. “This bill, like ones before it, uniquely and disproportionately hurts Louisiana due to our recent expansion and high burden of extreme poverty.”
Thousands in the state would lose their health care coverage under Cassidy’s bill, Gee stressed.
The fact that a Republican senator is desperately pushing a health care bill, dubbed Cassidy-Graham, that would devastate people in his own state is just one of the many truly bizarre aspects to the GOP’s latest zombie attempt to dismantle Obamacare.
It's one of the damndest things about this entire enterprise. He's written a bill that very explicitly screws his own state. https://t.co/hRvEJryfwo
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) September 19, 2017
Keep in mind, the bill hasn’t even been written yet so senators don’t know precisely what they might be voting on. (Sound familiar?) But enough is known to be freaking health care professionals out.
On Monday, 16 patient and provider groups came out forcefully against the bill. “This bill would limit funding for the Medicaid program, roll back important essential health benefit protections, and potentially open the door to annual and lifetime caps on coverage, endangering access to critical care for millions of Americans,” the group announced.
Just as with the Obamacare repeal effort in July, Republicans are trying to reach 51 votes in the Senate, where every Democrat is certain to vote no. And just like this summer, the entire process is shrouded in secrecy.
There are no public hearings scheduled before relevant Senate committees. And the Congressional Budget Office doesn’t have enough time to accurate analyze the bill before the GOP needs to vote by the end of the month.
“The CBO said Monday it will offer a partial assessment of the measure early next week, but that it won’t have estimates of its effects on the deficit, health-insurance coverage or premiums for at least several weeks,” Bloomberg reports.
Why the mad dash? Republicans only have until the end of the month to use a use a fast-track procedure that prevents Democrats from blocking the bill.
Cassidy is already dismissing the lack of transparency and CBO scoring, which every bill voted on by the United States Congress is supposed to receive. “I just don’t care about the coverage numbers, because their methodology has proven to be wrong,” Cassidy told Politico.
Gee in Louisiana remains stunned by the lack of transparency and the looming calamitous effect the bill would have on the state. “This would be a detrimental step backwards for Louisiana.”