Today the US Senate is holding a hearing on the newest health care reform bill under consideration. MDA has filed the following comment with the Committee in advance of the hearing to urge Congress to avoid rushing through the legislative process and to commit to a bipartisan approach to health care reform:
Health care reform will impact millions of Americans, and will have a significant impact on many living with neuromuscular disease. As an organization committed to helping save and improve the lives of those living with muscular dystrophy, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and other neuromuscular disorders, Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) urges every Senator to vote against any measure that is rushed through the legislative process without bipartisan support and without adequate understanding of its impact.
We have for months implored policy makers that any effort to change the current system must be addressed in a non-partisan and collaborative way, and were encouraged by the activities in the Senate to move forward with this approach. That effort, however, has now seemingly been derailed.
Many living with progressive neuromuscular disease rely on the health care coverage and protections guaranteed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and many rely on the Medicaid program. We appreciate that there is room for improvement in the current system, but the approach set out in the Graham-Cassidy bill is not the solution as it would make significant cuts to the Medicaid program and open the door to great variability in coverage, cost, and protections for those living with pre-existing conditions.
Early this year, MDA and a coalition of leading national non-partisan organizations came together to engage Congress in discussions around health care reform to ensure policy makers understood impact that changes to the current law would have on our communities. We agreed, as a unified group, that any proposal must ensure that health care would be accessible, affordable, and adequate to gain our support. This bill falls short of meeting those principles.
While improvements could be made to both private sector insurance and Medicaid programs, modifying current protections and coverage should not be rushed through the legislative process and should not be subject to decision-making along party lines. Health care is a complex and important issue, and careful consideration must be taken to identify, develop, and implement solutions that will protect all Americans.