Close the Gap Idaho, a broad coalition of health care providers, charities, advocates and others, has released a statement strongly opposing the new Senate GOP health care bill unveiled this week, the Better Care Reconciliation Act or BCRA. The group raised particular concern about the bill’s impact on Idaho’s Medicaid program, which serves the state’s poorest and disabled residents. “Every time Congress revises this bill, the most harmful provisions remain, or, in some cases, become even harsher,” said Susie Pouliot, CEO of the Idaho Medical Association. “The BCRA will make health care less available or affordable, especially for our most vulnerable Idahoans: Our children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing conditions.”
Brian Whitlock, president and CEO of the Idaho Hospital Association, said, “Like so many others, we view this legislation through a very simple lens: Does is make health care more accessible and affordable? The clear answer is no. Rather than increase the number of Idahoans who are uninsured, and increase health care costs for everyone, we need a fresh start with real reforms.”
Jim Baugh, executive director of Disability Rights Idaho, said, “Medicaid has been a lifeline for Idahoans with disabilities for decades and it pre-dates the Affordable Care Act by 45 years. … These services are essential for people with disabilities to live in the community. Why is our traditional Medicaid program facing steep cuts when it has nothing to do with Obamacare?”
The group said, “Idaho would be better served if our senators reject this bill, leave Medicaid intact, and address our real needs: Stabilizing the marketplace and improving affordability. We call on Idaho’s senators to reject any bill that causes large coverage losses for Idahoans, caps and cuts Idaho Medicaid, or guts critical protections for people with health conditions.” You can read the full statement here.