Sen. Maria Cantwell says funding cuts proposed in the latest Republican bill to repeal Obamacare would be devastating to the hundreds of thousands of children in Washington who are covered by Medicaid.
The billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid proposed in Senate Republicans’ latest and perhaps final attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be devastating to children across Washington, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell said Friday.
Named after its lead sponsors, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, the repeal bill would end the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, which has provided insurance to about 600,000 people in Washington. It would also end the federal subsidies that help people buy private insurance.
The bill would instead take that money and distribute it to states via block grants to set up their own health-care systems with few requirements for how to do so.
The bill’s chances of passage took a serious blow Friday when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., announced his opposition.
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The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has not had enough time to issue a full review of the legislation, but other analyses are all but unanimous that it would result in major cuts, both in funding and in health coverage.
Those cuts would be most severe in states like Washington that expanded Medicaid and have been successful in getting people to sign up for insurance.
If Graham-Cassidy passes and becomes law, Washington would lose $10 billion in federal funding for health care — mostly for Medicaid — between 2020 and 2026, according to a study by Avalere, a health-care consulting firm. Washington would lose an additional $7 billion in 2027, when the block grants to states would disappear if not reauthorized by Congress, according to the study.
“Medicaid literally is a lifeline and saves lives,” Cantwell, a Democrat, said Friday at International Community Health Services’ Holly Park Clinic, a low-income clinic in south Seattle where 60 percent of patients get care through Medicaid. “We need a robust Medicaid program that is not capped, that is not block-granted, that its money is not used for other things by states.”
Cantwell was joined by Jazmin Williams, 31, of Seattle, whose 7-year-old daughter, Kyra, was diagnosed last spring with a brain condition caused by abnormal blood vessel growth. The condition causes…