The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimate of the Senate’s health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), projecting that the legislation would increase the number of uninsured by 22 million in 2026 relative to the number under current law. This is slightly fewer than the number of uninsured estimated for the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA). CBO also estimates that the BCRA would reduce federal deficits by $321 billion over 10 years, $202 billion more than estimated net savings for the House bill.
On June 22, 2017, Republican Leaders in the U.S. Senate released their version of the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA), renamed the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” (BCRA) The legislative draft attempts to reform policies put in place by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a fast-tracked procedure known as budget reconciliation. The proposal would repeal major provisions of the ACA, including the law’s Medicaid expansion, industry taxes, and the individual and employer mandates. The proposal would curtail the ACA’s premium subsidies, and offer smaller subsidies for scaled-back health insurance plans with higher deductibles. It also would authorize states to adopt a “per capita cap” or block grant option to limit federal Medicaid funding for each state in the future.
We appreciate the efforts of the Majority to tackle the difficult task of healthcare reform, and while we recognize the serious short-comings of current law, we nonetheless, after careful evaluation and consistent with our mission, have concluded that CHRISTUS Health opposes the BCRA as currently drafted.
We are deeply concerned that the net effect of the BCRA will be to cause the patient population our system serves to lose access to quality, affordable health insurance. Dramatic cuts in federal Medicaid payments will limit the ability of low-income families and children to receive the medically necessary care recommended by their doctors. In turn, the number of uninsured and underinsured people will rise, as will uncompensated care costs for safety-net providers, including CHRISTUS.
As a not-for-profit Catholic health system, CHRISTUS is strongly committed to providing quality health care to all Americans. We are asking our Associates and others who are CHRISTUS Advocates to contact their Sen ators as soon as possible to let them know that CHRISTUS opposes the Better Care Reconciliation Act in its current form and to urge changes to the legislation to maintain access to care and coverage for the nation’s vulnerable populations.
To access the letter, please select the link below to visit the CHRISTUS Health advocacy website.