LTE and Op-Ed resources and Topic ideas

Key Points:

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan must stand strong for a solution that makes healthcare more affordable and more accessible for Alaskans. 

The Senate health care repeal bill is very bad for Alaska’s economy and middle class.

The proposal will increase premiums for the average Alaskan, reduce tax credits for middle income Alaskans, eliminate thousands of jobs and would increase the risk of medical bankruptcy.

  • Experts estimate 2,600 Alaskan jobs lost by 2026 (1).
  • Alaska’s business output predicted to fall $600 million (compared to output with no changes) (2).
  • The bill could lead to the return of annual and lifetime limits which threaten middle-income families with bankruptcy — including families with employer plans (3).
  • People who lose job-based coverage — or want to leave their job — might not have access to affordable insurance. (4)
  • Healthcare repeal’s severe cuts to Medicaid will force Alaska to choose between funding for healthcare and paying for other critical things like education and infrastructure.
  • Middle income Alaskans will lose tax credits that help pay for high insurance premiums (5). For example:
  • A 60-year old with income between about $53,000 to $60,000 in Alaska (350- 400 percent of the federal poverty level) would lose tax credits worth $22,380 in 2020 under the Senate bill.
  • A 45-year old Alaskan at this income level would lose over $9,000 in tax credits
  • A 30-year old Alaskan would lose tax credits worth over $6,000

Impact of cuts to Medicaid are severe and far reaching for Alaskans (6):

  • Medicaid covers one in four people in Alaska—more than 185,000 individuals, nearly half of whom are children.
  • Alaska is expected to lose $3.1 billion in federal Medicaid funds between federal FY* 2020 and 2026 from the expansion-related changes and the per capita cap
  • This amounts to 28% of Alaska’s current law federal Medicaid funding
  • To stay under the cap, Alaska will need to cut Medicaid spending by $632 million (federal and state dollars) between FY 2020 and 2026.
  • Reductions double between 2024 and 2026 – and would continue to deepen – as a result of use of CPI as the trend rate beginning in 2025.
  • Nearly 34,000 expansion adults could lose coverage, and the remaining children, seniors, people with disabilities, and other adults covered by Medicaid are at increased risk for cuts.
  • Medicaid expansion funds significant portions of Alaska’s substance disorder treatments, a critical service considering the opioid epidemic and declare public health crisis.

The Senate’s Healthcare Repeal (Better Care Reconciliation Act) would negatively impact healthcare for all Alaskans and cause middle class Alaskans to pay more.

  • The bill will increase costs, take away coverage, weaken protections, and end Medicaid as we know it.
  • The bill will have a deep impact on the economy of the state, the ability of Alaskans to have access to affordable healthcare, and the ability to combat the ongoing opioid crisis.
  • The bill has a particularly negative impact on rural Alaskans, Alaska’s seniors, groups with pre-existing conditions, Alaskans battling addiction and mental health issues, and Alaskans with disabilities.
  • The bill shifts a tremendous economic burden on the state of Alaska during a time of a fiscal budget crisis and will dramatically decrease jobs in Alaska’s healthcare sector.
  • The bill, crafted in private by a small group of Senators, without public or expert input breaks Senate Republican’s promise to put the American people first, and instead prioritizes tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of our healthcare.
  • Senate leadership is determined to have a vote on the bill before the August recess and have shown zero inclination to provide any opportunities for public or expert input.

 

1.     (http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/files/interactives-and-maps/2017/aca-job-loss/alaska.pdf?la=en)

2.     (http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/files/interactives-and-maps/2017/aca-job-loss/alaska.pdf?la=en)

3.     (http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/middle-class-families-would-face-higher-costs-worse-coverage-under-senate-health )

4.     (http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/middle-class-families-would-face-higher-costs-worse-coverage-under-senate-health )

5.     (http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/alaskans-could-still-suffer-most-harm-under-senate-version-of-gop-health-plan)

6.     Impact on Alaska of Medicaid Provisions in the BCRA. Alaska Department Health and Human Services: http://dhss.alaska.gov/News/Documents/press/2017/impactBCRA.pdf

Other helpful resources:

1.     http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=5fecc802-4562-45a3-8341-a1746ab4ae9f

2.     http://www.kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/premiums-under-the-senate-better-care-reconciliation-act/