Congressman Evans Joins Mayor Kenney for Press Conference Against the Passage of the Graham-Cassidy Bill to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

September 25, 2017
Press Release

Philadelphia-Mayor Jim Kenney, City and State leaders as well as stakeholders denounced the latest Health care proposal by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-La) today.  The Graham-Cassidy legislation would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make significant changes to the Medicaid program by replacing funding for the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and individual insurance market subsidies with a block grant program funded through 2026.

“This legislation is worse than all the other previous attempts to repeal and replace the ACA. It would hurt the most vulnerable in our city by allowing individual states and insurance companies to opt out of covering maternity care, mental health, substance abuse treatment, and hospitalization, while also allowing insurers to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.”

More than 200,000 Philadelphians have gained coverage through the ACA – more than 160,000 through Medicaid and about 60,000 through the Marketplace. As a result, one in every six adults in Philadelphia now has the peace of mind, protection from financial hardship and the security of accessing health care when they need to. The bill is particularly destructive to the Medicaid program and would have a major impact on   individuals with serious mental illness and substance use disorders.

"The latest attack on healthcare does absolutely nothing to help move our neighborhoods forward. Instead of taking resources away, we should be looking for ways to invest in and strengthen our neighborhoods block by block. We have too much to lose if we remain silent. That’s why we must keep speaking out and speaking up for what is right," said Congressman Dwight Evans (D-PA). 

“Behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment and services provided through Medicaid funding can have positive effects on the social determinants of health such as housing, employment and food security,” said David T. Jones, Commissioner for the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. “All of us here are committed to helping all Philadelphians, but we need the support of Congress in doing so and we urge them to consider the countless lives that will be negatively impacted if the Cassidy-Graham proposal is passed.”

Liz Hersh, the Director of Homeless Services said “It is also central to addressing street homelessness. An estimated 70% of people experiencing street homelessness have either a substance use and/or a mental health disorder.

In addition, the legislation does not take steps toward coverage and access for all Americans, and while insurers are still required to offer coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions, allowing states to get waivers to vary premiums based on health status would allow insurers to charge unaffordable premiums based on those pre-existing conditions.  Also, waivers of essential health benefits will mean patients may not have access to coverage for services pertinent to treating their conditions.

If you want more information on this legislation and what you can do to make your voices heard you can click here to view our Action Guide.