Dear CSWA Members,
Thanks to grassroots pressure to members of the Senate (including from many CSWA members – thank you!), Majority Leader McConnell has made the draft of the Senate's version of the House American Health Care Act available for review. Titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, this bill is not to be considered a finished version; changes are likely to be negotiated right up to next week's planned vote.
As it currently stands, the BCRA could severely limit Medicaid through state-determined waivers and per-capita caps on enrollment. It would exclude services available to women under Planned Parenthood and services available to children under the CHIP program. Additionally,states would be able to redefine what constitutes pre-existing conditions and how they determine what essential benefits are.
High risk conditions including addictions, PTSD and serious mental health disorders have nowhere near the funding that is needed to cover them in this version. Medicaid enrollees have a 33% higher rate of these conditions and would thus be more severely affected in states that choose to put caps on Medicaid enrollment.
Since there is so much that is yet to be determined about this bill, CSWA is not prepared to offer any message different from the one that we recommended on Monday. Please continue to make calls to senators in opposition to per-capita caps to Medicaid/the end of Medicaid expansion, and in support of preserving essential benefits at the federal level.
Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice
Clinical Social Work Association
The National Voice of Clinical Social Work
Strengthening IDENTITY | Preserving INTEGRITY | Advocating PARITY