Community Coalition Calls on Congressional Leaders to Reject the Graham-Cassidy Repeal Bill

Albany, NY — Constituents, health care providers, and concerned residents rallied today to call on Congressional leaders to forcefully reject the latest attempt to repeal key provisions of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. The new repeal bill, which is being called Graham-Cassidy, would raise premiums and strip health care coverage from millions of New Yorkers, includings thousands of families in the Capital District. Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul and Rep. Paul Tonko added their voices to the growing chorus of opposition to the bill.

The Graham-Cassidy bill continues to gain momentum and could pass the Senate and head to the House for an up or down vote within days.

“The lack of concern for real people is appalling. We are talking about hard-working New Yorkers, just trying to get by. We are talking about the poor, the sick, and those who can’t care for themselves. The chronically ill, frail, and elderly,” said Richard Byas, Sr. Medical Assistant at Whitney Young Health Center. “Graham-Cassidy would, without consideration, slash their resources, their livelihoods. I think it is simply immoral and we have to stop it now.”

Rev. Peter Cook, Executive Director of NYS Council of Churches, said, “Many members of the Senate tell us that their Christian faith shapes their life and their politics. Given this reality, it is hard to understand why they would support the Graham-Cassidy bill, which would devastate the health care security of millions of Americans. New York State Council of Churches, representing 7,000 congregations in New York, call on our Senators and Congress people to vote no!”

“The Capital District Area Labor Federation opposes the abomination of the Graham-Cassidy bill. We call on all working people to pressure Congress to stop this now. Health care is a human right,” said Mark Emanatian, Senior Field Coordinator of the Capital District Area Labor Federation.

“At a time when New York is experiencing an unprecedented crisis of opioid dependency and overdose, the ACA mandates that insurers cover drug treatment programs; the Graham-Cassidy bill intentionally ignores the suffering of thousands, and if successful, will add to the tragedy of the annual 60,000 deaths from overdose. New York is struggling to save lives, and this bill would reduce Medicaid funds for states like ours that expanded medicaid, and now the Graham-Cassidy bill seeks to punish us for doing what is morally just,” said Jawanza Williams, Organizer with VOCAL-NY.

“The Graham-Cassidy bill, crafted by a group of all-male politicians behind closed doors doesn’t fix what’s broken. Instead, it entirely does away with the health care system millions of people rely on. The legislation is built like a time bomb — every year, it will bring more bad news for women,” said Chelly Hegan, President and CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. “The bill restructures the Medicaid program in a way that would eliminate health care coverage for millions of people—affecting women and children the most. Our supporters and patients will not go quietly as DC politicians vote to take away their care.”

“Despite claims to the contrary, the Cassidy-Graham plan is just another ACA repeal bill that would have similar devastating effects on New York as the previous, failed GOP repeal bills,” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute. “The public, experts across the political spectrum, and groups representing patients, hospitals, physicians, seniors, people with disabilities and others have forcefully and repeatedly rejected this misguided approach.”

While CBO hasn’t yet scored the Graham-Cassidy plan, it’s clear that the plan would take coverage from tens of millions of people, consistent with past ACA repeal bills.

  • The plan’s effects would be identical to the earlier Senate repeal bill, causing 15 million people to become uninsured next year and driving up premiums by 20 percent.
  • After 2020, when the plan’s cuts to Medicaid expansion, ACA subsidies, and the underlying Medicaid program would take effect, coverage losses would grow.
  • NYS would lose $18 billion in health care funding.
  • By 2027, the plan would cause 32 million or more people to lose coverage, just like earlier plans to repeal the ACA with no replacement. Once its block grant funding ends, the Cassidy-Graham proposal is virtually identical to those plans, except that it also cuts Medicaid for seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children.
  • The ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions would be gutted, making their insurance unaffordable.

“The Graham-Cassidy bill would have a disastrous impact on our state and local community,” said Jamaica Miles, Lead Organizer at Citizen Action of New York. “How can congressional leaders from New York justify supporting a bill that would slash health care funding in our state by $18 billion?”

“The Graham-Cassidy bill would eliminate healthcare coverage for millions, gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions, cut Medicaid, and deliberately target New York State, creating an impossible budget deficit that will have ripple effects throughout the economy,” said Scott Phillipson, SEIU Local 200United President. “Senate Republicans are trying to jam this bill through, leaving no time for the public to understand it or weigh in at public hearings. SEIU members urge elected officials to stop playing politics with our health and stop sabotaging the healthcare that working families count on.”

“Graham-Cassidy is not a health care bill. It is just the latest attempt to give tax breaks to the rich at the expense of the disabled,” said Bryan O’Malley, Executive Director of the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of NYS. “It would steal $45 billion in funds from the disabled and seniors, money that is needed to pay for critical services that help people lead fruitful lives in their communities. It is a declaration of war on the poor, the disabled, and seniors and it cannot be allowed to pass.”

“The Graham-Cassidy bill would devastate Americans, and New Yorkers in particular. Even the bill’s supporters know this, which is why they are obfuscating and misleading the public about what it really does. This behavior is unconscionable. New York’s entire congressional delegation must stand up for the interest of their constituents and oppose this immoral and anti-democratic bill,” said Emily McNeill, Executive Director of the Labor-Religion Coalition.

“The disastrous and cruel cuts to health care in the Graham-Cassidy bill would have a catastrophic effect on New York’s diverse and productive immigrant communities” says Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “Like all New Yorkers, immigrants have benefited from New York’s marketplace, Medicaid expansion, and Essential Plan. The bill’s cruel plan to convert health care financing to inadequate block grants, end the Medicaid expansion, and allow states to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, will destabilize all New York communities.”  

“This bill would be devastating to me and my two children. We all have pre-existing conditions and none of us had health insurance prior to the Medicaid expansion. I remember thinking my one-year-old daughter was going to die when she caught pneumonia and her antibiotics were $386,” said parent Lauren Manning. “No family should be forced to make such extreme choices and that is what this bill will do. It will decimate Medicaid. It will price those off us with pre-existing conditions out of the market.”

“The cuts and caps in Graham-Cassidy will pressure states to cut community-based services first, which are the services that secure disabled lives and liberty,” said Adam Prizio, a disability rights advocate with ADAPT. “Then states will force disabled people back into institutions which will themselves be crowded, underfunded hives of neglect, abuse, and ruin. It sets disabled people back decades. This bill is an inhumane disgrace.”

“This bill is dangerous, destructive and deadly—we won’t let it pass. Everyday New Yorkers worked together to stop Medicaid block grants pushed by Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush, and we will stop them again under Trump, McConnell and Ryan. And we will make sure our state has a strong, effective healthcare system that serves all of us, no matter what happens in Washington,” said Michael Kink, Executive Director of Strong Economy for All Coalition.

“Medicaid and CHIP cover nearly half (44%, or nearly five million) of children with special health care needs. Medicaid or CHIP is the sole source of coverage for over one-third (36%) of these children,” said Susan Zimet, Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network of NYS. Through Medicaid, many of these children are able to stay with their families and live in their family’s home. It is unconscionable that the current administration wants to pull the rug out from under sick children and their families”

Coalition Partners: Citizen Action of New York, New York State Nurses Association, New York State Council of Churches, 1199SEIU, Capital District Area Labor Federation (CD-ALF), Strong Economy for All Coalition, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, SEIU Local 200, New York Immigration Coalition, Fiscal Policy Institute, Coalition of Asian American Children & Families, Hunger Action, Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of NYS (CDPAA), VOCAL-NY, Health Care for All New York, CWA, ADAPT, Planned Parenthood


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