After weeks of secrecy, Senate leaders have finally released their health care bill

It’s no wonder they wanted to keep it secret – just like its House counterpart, their bill would rob millions of their health insurance and slash funding for Medicaid, all to finance major tax cuts for extremely wealthy people.

Response to the Senate health care repeal bill has been swift and harsh. Nationwide, physicians, patient groups, hospitals, consumer groups, senior groups, and faith leaders have all come out against the Senate repeal bill. Here is what some of them have to say about this bill.

Don’t just take our word for it – read on for excerpts of statements made by national provider, consumer, and faith groups.

THOSE WHO KNOW HEALTH CARE THE BEST SAY THE SENATE REPEAL BILL IS THE WORST:

PROVIDERS

American Academy Of Pediatrics: “The US Senate’s Health Care Legislation, At Last Unveiled Today, Fails To Meet Children’s Needs.” “The U.S. Senate’s health care legislation, at last unveiled today, fails to meet children’s needs…There is too much at stake for those of us who care for children to be silent. Pediatricians will continue to speak out for what children need until we see legislation that reflects it.” [AAP, 6/22/17]

American Psychiatric Association: “The Senate Proposal, Like The House-Passed American Health Care Act, Falls Short Of Providing Needed Mental Health Care Benefits And Protections To Those Most Vulnerable.” “The American Psychiatric Association urges the Senate to reject the troubling and harmful health care reform proposal released today by Senate Republicans. The Senate proposal, like the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA), falls short of providing needed mental health care benefits and protections to those most vulnerable.” [APA, 6/22/17]

American Psychiatric Association: “APA Also Expresses Serious Concerns About The Secretive Process Under Which It Was Drafted And The Lack Of Time For Review And Debate.” “APA also expresses serious concerns about the secretive process under which it was drafted and the lack of time for review and debate. Physicians and their patients were not consulted in the process. Consequently, the legislation will have significant negative impacts on care for people with mental illness and substance use disorders.” [APA, 6/22/17]

American Academy Of Family Physicians: “This Legislation Would Have A Profoundly Negative Impact On Americans.” “The Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 reflects many of the same flawed concepts that are in the American Health Care Act. In many ways, it poses a graver threat to millions of Americans, particularly children, people with disabilities and older Americans…This legislation would have a profoundly negative impact on Americans. The AAFP urges the Senate to reject this path and this policy. There are countless improvements that need to be made to our health care system, and the AAFP stands ready to work with Congress on identifying and implementing those improvements. But, we cannot and will not support a bill that will cause harm to millions of patients.” [AAFP, 6/22/17]

American Psychological Association: “This So-Called Better Care Reconciliation Act Is Actually Worse Than The Bill Passed By The House.” “This so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act is actually worse than the bill passed by the House, because it would undermine Medicaid even more severely, if a little more slowly. This is extremely disappointing. Medicaid is a critical backstop of coverage for mental health treatment, and for millions of older Americans, children and individuals with disabilities. If the goal is to cover more people, why slash Medicaid when it is already much more cost-effective than private sector plans?” [APA, 6/22/17]

HOSPITALS

American Hospital Association: “We Urge The Senate To Go Back To The Drawing Board And Develop Legislation That Continues To Provide Coverage To All Americans Who Currently Have It.” “From the onset of this debate, America’s hospitals and health systems have been guided by a set of key principles that would protect coverage for Americans. Unfortunately, the draft bill under discussion in the Senate moves in the opposite direction, particularly for our most vulnerable patients. The Senate proposal would likely trigger deep cuts to the Medicaid program that covers millions of Americans with chronic conditions such as cancer, along with the elderly and individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and support. Medicaid cuts of this magnitude are unsustainable and will increase costs to individuals with private insurance. We urge the Senate to go back to the drawing board and develop legislation that continues to provide coverage to all Americans who currently have it.” [AHA, 6/22/17]

Federation Of American Hospitals: “Now Is The Time For The Senate To Hit Reset And Make Key Improvements To This Legislation.” “FAH has been explicit about our health reform core principles: maintain coverage levels, reasonable Medicaid structural reforms, sustain affordable, high quality individual coverage, protect employer-sponsored insurance and roll back untenable cuts to hospital reimbursement. At this time, the BCRA draft does not sufficiently meet those principles which are so important to those Americans our community hospitals serve and our employees who care for those patients every day. Now is the time for the Senate to hit reset and make key improvements to this legislation.” [FAH, 6/22/17]

Children’s Hospital Association: “Children’s Hospitals Are Unified In Calling On The Senate To Reject The Bill.” “Today, the U.S. Senate released the ‘Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017’ as part of the ongoing congressional effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and reform Medicaid more broadly. Children’s hospitals are unified in calling on the Senate to reject the bill. At its core, the bill is a major step backward for children and their health.” [CHA, 6/22/17]

Catholic Health Association: “Just Like The House Passed American Health Care Act, The Senate Proposal Will Have A Devastating Impact On Our Nation’s Most Vulnerable Populations.” “CHA is strongly opposed to the Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act. Just like the House passed American Health Care Act, the Senate proposal will have a devastating impact on our nation’s most vulnerable populations. After weeks of working behind closed doors, and despite claims that the Senate would start over and develop its own legislation, there is very little that differs from the House bill. The small tweaks made in the newly released Senate bill do not change the fact that millions will lose their health care especially through a complete restructuring and deep federal funding reduction to the Medicaid program.” [CHA, 6/22/17]

America’s Essential Hospitals: “This Bill Might Even Accelerate Decisions By Some [Hospitals] To Reduce Services Or Close Their Doors.” “Senate leaders today have put ideology ahead of lives with a plan that puts health and home at risk for millions of working Americans and that would badly weaken essential services for everyone in communities across the country. Today’s Senate bill makes few material improvements to the deeply damaging House legislation, and might be worse overall. For the hospitals that protect millions of Americans and their communities — our essential hospitals — this bill might even accelerate decisions by some to reduce services or close their doors.” [AEH, 6/22/17]

PATIENT GROUPS

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: “Patients Would Pay More For Less Coverage Under Senate Health Bill.” “Preliminary analysis of the Senate bill released today shows the proposal could greatly harm millions of cancer patients, survivors and those at risk for the disease. Now more than ever patients need a transparent, bipartisan effort that will stabilize the insurance market, retain patient protections and reduce rather than increase premiums. We urge the Senate to return to the drawing board and work together to find ways to improve our health care system and protect cancer patients.” [ACS CAN, 6/22/17]

American Lung Association: “The Health Care Legislation Released Today Falls Woefully Short Of Providing Health Care For The 32 Million Americans Living With Lung Disease And Should Be Rejected.” “The healthcare legislation released today falls woefully short of providing healthcare for the 32 million Americans living with lung disease and should be rejected. The Senate bill will slash funding for our nation’s Medicaid program, which provides coverage for 20 percent of Americans and 39 percent of children — many of whom have asthma, COPD and other lung diseases. The proposed cuts to Medicaid under this bill will be devastating for children, seniors and people living with disabilities for whom healthcare is critical. Cuts to Medicaid will lead to more asthma attacks.” [ALA, 6/22/17]

National Council For Behavioral Health: “Instead Of ‘Repeal And Replace,’ It Is ‘Wreck And Wreak Havoc.’” “The Senate version of the American Health Care Act purports to be a ‘repeal and replace’ of the Affordable Care Act, but is really a draconian restructuring and gutting of Medicaid, the program that covers 20% of Americans and is one of the primary payers of addiction and mental health treatment in the U.S. Instead of ‘repeal and replace,’ it is ‘wreck and wreak havoc.’” [NCBH, 6/22/17]

CONSUMER GROUPS

AARP: “The Bill Gives $200MM To Drug & Insurance Companies While Regular People Pay More & Get Less.” “The bill gives $200MM to drug & insurance companies while regular people pay more & get less. Senate, we’ll hold you accountable. #VoteNo” [AARP, 6/22/17]

Consumers Union: “The Devil Is In The Details, And Now That We’ve Seen The Bill, It’s Understandable Why Senate Leaders Have Kept It Hidden Behind Closed Doors.” “The devil is in the details, and now that we’ve seen the bill, it’s understandable why Senate leaders have kept it hidden behind closed doors. Rather than starting from scratch — as Senators promised — this latest version of the American Health Care Act is equally misguided and harsh as the House bill. The consequences of the Senate’s legislation are just as dangerous: millions of Americans could lose coverage, consumers would likely pay more out-of-pocket for care and higher premiums for plans that cover less, and Medicaid would be cut off at the knees. While the bill may appear to provide consideration for those with preexisting conditions, the option to waive Essential Health Benefits could leave all privately insured Americans at the mercy of annual and lifetime caps — putting meaningful coverage out of reach for many Americans, especially those with chronic and pre existing conditions.” [Consumers Union, 6/22/17]

TEACHERS

American Federation Of Teachers: “This Proposal Would Be A Disaster For America’s Families — It Raises Costs, Cuts Coverage, Weakens Protections, And Ends Medicaid As We Know It.” “Now that we have leafed through the 142 pages of the Senate Republicans’ bill, it’s obvious why they wanted to keep it a secret. This proposal would be a disaster for America’s families—it raises costs, cuts coverage, weakens protections and ends Medicaid as we know it. Instead of repairing Obamacare, Republicans have doubled down on what the House-passed Trumpcare would do—rip away healthcare from millions to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. In the Senate, they just did it in a different way.” [AFT, 6/22/17]

FAITH LEADERS

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice: “The ‘Plan’ Unveiled By Senate Republicans Today Continues to Be Un-American.” ‘The ‘plan’ unveiled by Senate Republicans today continues to be un-American. Their mission is clear: the GOP wants to push people off of healthcare coverage in order to give more tax breaks to the very wealthy. This bill is a crass political calculation carried out by 13 white, male Senators who are out of touch with the realities of millions of ordinary families in every state. They are about raw power – not working for the common good. Democracy works best when there are hearings, debate, and discussion to craft a bill that works for everyone, not just a few Senators. My faith challenges me to heal the sick and care for the widow and the orphan. This Republican bill does the opposite. This is not the faithful way forward. We urge a NO vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act.” [NETWORK, 6/22/17]

Reverend Jimmie Hawkins, Director, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness: “An Unacceptable Threat To God’s People.” “The draconian cuts to heath care are an unacceptable threat to God’s people, particularly those who have the least access to resources in our society. Passing this bill means that people will die from lack of healthcare, a reality that we as Presbyterians cannot accept. We urge all Senators of good conscience to recognize their responsibility to vote NO on the Better Care Reconciliation Act.” [NETWORK, 6/22/17]

Barbara Weinstein, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism: The Bill “Will Profoundly And Negatively Impact Our Nation’s Most Vulnerable.” “We vehemently oppose the Senate health care proposal released today. The bill’s devastating cuts and restructuring of Medicaid will profoundly and negatively impact our nation’s most vulnerable—low-income Americans, the elderly, children, and people with disabilities. Jewish tradition’s emphasis on caring for the sick and uplifting those in need inspires us to demand that the Senate reject this harmful legislation and work to expand, not restrict, access to affordable health care.” [NETWORK, 6/22/17]

Reverend David Beckman, President, Bread for the World: “Senators Who Support This Bill Will Be Voting To Take Away Health Insurance From The Elderly, The Disabled, And Children.” “Ending the Medicaid expansion at a slower rate still means that millions of Americans will have their health care coverage taken away. Senators who support this bill will be voting to take away health insurance from the elderly, the disabled, and children. Medical bills often drive families, especially those who struggle to make ends meet, into hunger and poverty. Instead of making our health care system worse, Congress should strive to improve the system so that all Americans have the health care coverage they need.” [NETWORK, 6/22/17]

Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland Tune, Director, Ecumenical Poverty Initiative: “Lives Are At Stake And So Is The Moral Fabric Of Our Nation.” “We are deeply disappointed in the Senate version of the AHCA, which will negatively impact millions of Americans including the poorest in our nation, children and the elderly. The cuts to Medicaid are reprehensible and the planned phaseout will put people’s lives in jeopardy and make America sick again. It seems that the thirteen Senators who drafted this bill have had their moral compass demagnetized by political posturing, an unhealthy desire to dismantle, rather than fix, the Affordable Care Act, and to pay for tax breaks for the wealthiest in our nation– all at the expense of the American people. This is both shameful and unjust. We call on U.S. Senators to put people first. Reject this bill by voting against it. Lives are at stake and so is the moral fabric of our nation.” [NETWORK, 6/22/17]

Rev. Jason Carson Wilson, Justice & Peace Policy Fellow, United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries: “What Would Jesus Do? He Would Champion Healthcare For All.” “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were promised to us all. Deep Medicaid cuts are destined to bring death and sadness to many. Children, seniors and people living with disabilities’ lives hang in the balance. As a follower of Jesus, I’m called to comfort the afflicted. Drastic Medicaid cuts will only create more chaos and pain for those already facing challenges. What would Jesus do? He would champion healthcare for all.” [NETWORK, 6/22/17]

Diane Randall, Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation: “Never Before Have I Seen Legislation That Would Do So Much Harm To Senators’ Own Constituents.” “The Senate version of the AHCA is beyond irresponsible; it is immoral. The draconian cuts and restructuring of Medicaid do nothing to address instability in the marketplace or lower premiums. Instead, states will be forced to eliminate health services, leaving millions without access to needed care. These Medicaid cuts will fall particularly hard on low-income children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Never before have I seen legislation that would do so much harm to senators’ own constituents, especially for families struggling to make ends meet. Rather than cutting Medicaid in a rushed and secretive process, Congress should work in a bipartisan and responsible manner to truly address the real problems within America’s health care system.” [NETWORK, 6/22/17]

Larry Couch, Director, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd: “This Wanton Disregard For Human Life Must Be Stopped.” “Learning about the proposed deep cuts in Medicaid passed by the House of Representatives, the American people looked to the Senate. Sadly, the Senate plan proposes even deeper cuts in Medicaid. This wanton disregard for human life must be stopped. Millions of children living in poverty, people with disabilities, and older people in nursing homes will be denied life-saving medicine and care. Call your legislators today to stop this vicious attack on the most vulnerable people in our communities.” [NETWORK, 6/22/17]

Albert Pless, President of American Muslim Health Professionals: “We Urge All Senators To Vote Against The Better Reconciliation Act.” “As an organization that strives to care for the most vulnerable members of our society, discussions surrounding the repeal of the ACA have been deeply distressing. Given that ACA has impacted the lives of many – most notably, those hard-to-reach members of our community who would otherwise not know where to go to begin the process of obtaining health coverage, it is critical we oppose any bill that seeks to eliminate care. We urge all Senators to vote against the Better Care Reconciliation Act. ” [NETWORK, 6/22/17]

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