In today's email:
- The Affordable Care Act is still in real danger.
- No state budget this week: what now?
- Legislative session review.
Even with the delayed Senate vote, the Affordable Care Act is still in danger.
Last week, Senate Republicans finally made public their Affordable Care Act Repeal proposal. The “Better Health Care Act” looks similar to the one already passed by the House of Representatives. Although the Senate bill pegs tax credits to purchase insurance to income, unlike the House version, those credits are not enough to make exchange plans affordable for older individuals. Instead of having to pay extra for insurance if coverage lapses under the House version, the Senate bill imposes a six-month waiting period.
The broad outline, however, is the same: the bill includes deep cuts to Medicaid, huge tax cuts for the wealthy, and will result in 15 million people losing their access to health insurance next year – and 22 million by 2026. In addition, out-of-pocket health care costs will soar, as the new insurance plans will offer less coverage. Connecticut’s uninsured rate would almost double, with more than 160,000 people losing coverage. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has a more detailed breakdown here. You can read the Congressional Budget Office report about the proposed bill here.
The initial plan was to vote on the repeal bill this week, but Senate leaders have decided to postpone the vote. Senate Republicans hold a 52-48 majority, so they can only afford to lose two votes. Republican lawmakers are well aware of the devastating impact of their proposal, and many harbor doubts about how to vote. Senate leaders have signaled that they will try again to pass the bill after the July 4th recess, so the fight is far from over.
What can you do to help stop this bill?
- Our U.S. Senators are opposed to the repeal efforts. We encourage you to call them to share your story about why the ACA is important, and thank them for their support. You can find their contact information here.
- Do you have any friends or relatives that live in states represented by Republican Senators? Call them, reach them on social media, e-mail them, and urge them to call their Senator. Tell them to share their stories, and to urge them to oppose the repeal. This is going to be a very close vote. Every single call helps.
Last week, we discussed what would happen if Connecticut reached the end of its fiscal year without passing a budget, and shared CT Mirror’s piece, “Without a CT budget by July 1, the options are all bad”.
Yesterday, the Governor presented legislators with two options: an executive order with draconian cuts across the board, or a “mini-budget” with some new revenue for the next three months and smaller cuts. The General Assembly, however, failed to reach an agreement to pass any budget, even the three-month proposal offered by the Governor. The fiscal year ends this Friday, and the state will indeed not have a budget by that deadline, so the worst case scenario will come to pass.
This is bad news. Connecticut’s budget is the clearest statement of its policy priorities. As such, it should prioritize both revenue and spending options that advance long-term inclusive economic prosperity, improve equity, and assure support for our most vulnerable residents. A prolonged budget standoff will hurt social services, put immense pressure on municipal budgets, and have a huge impact on children and families in need.
Right now, policymakers seem far from a budget deal. We have a long road ahead.
The 2017 legislative session is over. Due to the budget situation, legislators focused on fiscal issues this year, meaning that legislative activity in other areas was lower than usual.
Despite this, the General Assembly did consider and pass a significant number of bills that affect children and families, as well as some important provisions that will directly impact the state´s long-term fiscal health.
In our new policy brief, we provide an overview of the 2017 legislative session, with a focus on bills affecting fiscal policy, education, youth opportunity and family wellbeing. Click here to download the report.
What We Are Reading/ Listening to
- New Study Reveals Cities Where Low-income Students Are Doing Best, Hechinger Report.
- Commentary: Turning Back the Clock on Hunger and Malnutrition, Robert Greenstein, CBPP. The President’s budget proposals include massive cuts to food assistance programs, above all SNAP – with potentially massive budget impacts for the state.
- Office of Policy and Management's analysis on the impact that an ACA repeal will have on the Connecticut state budget.
- G.O.P. Health Plan Is Really a Rollback of Medicaid, Upshot/NYT.
- A Not-So-Simple Majority, This American Life on the story of an education budget fight in East Ramapo, NY.