Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced Tuesday afternoon that a key vote on the chamber’s effort to reform health care will be delayed. The vote, originally planned for this week, is expected to be delayed until after the July 4th Congressional work period.
The “Better Care Reconciliation Act” was released last week after weeks of deliberation on the Senate’s version of the repeal and replace legislation. Senate leaders hoped to have a final vote on the bill before week’s end and send it to the House before the July 4th work period.
According to an AHCA internal analysis, under the Senate ACA repeal/Medicaid Reform Bill, providers would face the most significant cuts to Medicaid EVER.
Shortly after the bill was unveiled last Thursday afternoon, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) announced that he couldn’t support the new health care plan in its present form. According to AHCA officials familiar with negotiations on the bill, the legislation makes additional cuts not included in last month’s House bill to the Medicaid reimbursement through cuts to the provider tax, a provision that was adopted in part as a result of Sen. Johnson’s support.
Last Friday, WHCA/WiCAL Executive Director John Vander Meer sent a memo to Senator Johnson outlining Wisconsin long term care providers’ serious concerns with the bill.
WHCA/WiCAL staff have been in touch with key officials from Sen. Johnson’s office, but we need your help NOW! A VOTE COULD COME THIS WEEK.
WHCA/WiCAL NEEDS AS MANY STAFF AS POSSIBLE FROM EVERY MEMBER FACILITY TO CALL SENATOR JOHNSON’S OFFICE ON THIS.
There are the two key points Sen. Johnson needs to hear from YOU about regarding this legislation:
- POINT 1: The House bill used CPI-Medical + 1% as its Medicaid Growth Rate for Aged and Disabled Categories. The Senate version uses CPI-Urban, which is a much smaller percent – ASK SEN. JOHNSON TO make sure the growth rate is at least CPI Medical Services Plus 1% for the entire scoring window.
BACKGROUND: A decrease in the inflation factor in 2025 and later would occur at the crest of the aging boom as well as when a significant wave of children and young adults with disabilities will turn 65. This will further increase demand for complex medical services and Medicaid-financed long-term services and supports (LTSS).The current drop to CPI-U in 2025 would be a massive cut, $100s of billions, just as more and more individuals will need LTSS.
- POINT 2: Under this bill, Wisconsin will sustain significant cuts over and above what other states experienced that took the Medicaid expansion dollars. ASK SEN. JOHNSON TO insist that Wisconsin is treated fairly compared to other states.
BACKGROUND: On a per capita basis, states that accepted the Medicaid expansion would receive 61.9 percent more federal funding than non-expansion states. From 2012 to 2025, expansion states would reap an additional $680.6 billion if the House version of the AHCA is enacted, and similar numbers are expected if the Senate version passes. with even less money available in revenue equalizers allocated to provide states that didn’t accept the Medicaid expansion.
CALL SENATOR JOHNSON TODAY.
TELL SEN. JOHNSON: this bill would cause the average nursing home to lose $600,000/year on Medicaid – THIS IS A CUT WE CAN’T AFFORD
TELL SEN. JOHNSON: VOTE NO ON ANY BILL THAT DOES NOT restore CPI Medical + 1 percent, and PROTECT WISCONSIN from cuts over and above states that took the Medicaid expansion money. This bill would be a disaster for the skilled nursing and assisted living providers.
Sen. Ron Johnson
- Rationale for CPI-U Medical Plus 1
- Medicaid Cuts to SNFs under Repeal and Replace
- Medicaid Talking Points
Senator Johnson’s announcement this past week came in a joint statement he issued in conjunction with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky opposing the bill in its present form. A range of GOP senators have said they would have liked a more open process with more time to review the bill.
In conversations with Johnson’s staff, WHCA officials were told that the Sen. Johnson would have had preferred a more open process, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) plans to bring the legislation up for a vote THIS WEEK.
This echoes statements comment made by Johnson to reporters that he had not seen all that was included in the Senate’s version of the health care bill and that he was concerned by lack of transparency in the drafting process.
WHCA/WiCAL officials met with Sen. Johnson in his Washington office earlier this month. In that visit during the AHCA/NCAL Congressional Briefing, WHCA Board President Jeff Schueller and WHCA Board First Vice President and WiCAL Council Member Steve Kuranz met directly with the Senator and his Chief of Staff. This is just was of numerous WHCA/WiCAL members and staff have had with the Senator and his staff on this critical issue.
As has been reported in recent weeks, WHCA joined numerous other state health care provider associations in voicing their opposition to the proposal.
Click HERE to read the June 2, 2017 letter to Sen. Johnson.
Johnson also said that he would work to ensure states that did not opt to expand Medicaid under the ACA – including Wisconsin – would not be unfairly penalized under the new health care proposal:
“When you take a look at the money spent in Medicaid expansion, it’s a lot of money, and if we lock in that disparity that’s a disadvantage to states like Wisconsin. So yeah, I’m concerned about that. I would rather not do it by spending more money.”
Johnson called the divide over how to tackle the disparities between states a “significant one.”
Gov. Walker has announced his support for Johnson expressing concern over the bill in its present form.
“The goal should be for more people to have access to quality and affordable health care,” Walker was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.