Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Health Care Cuts Threaten Connecticut's Economy

The millions of people who spoke out, rallied and took part in civil disobedience stopped U.S. Senate Republicans from repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The fight for the ACA and for the right to health care continues. Below is testimony of William P. Morico to Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy at New Haven City Hall on June 23, 2017:

I worked for 50 years in health-care related fields. Others will speak about the devastating effects on health care services of attempts to “repeal & replace” the ACA. As I don't believe the majority of Republicans in Congress care about our health care, I will address the financial impact of such cuts.

Federal health care spending from Medicare and Medicaid (2014-15) in CT was over $8 billion, including $4.7 billion from Medicare, and $3.6 billion from Medicaid. The various proposals from Congress cut between 10% -30% from Medicaid, translating to over $1 billion in cuts to the CT economy each year. The elimination of increased Medicare taxes will weaken Medicare and lead to further calls for benefit cuts. This has been their agenda since Medicare was enacted in 1965.

Cuts of this magnitude will directly impact not only the State budget, but all health care provider organizations, especially primary care providers like community health centers, and hospitals, required to care for all regardless of ability to pay.

These amounts do not include proposed federal budget cuts to public health programs, basic medical research, medical education, medical education loan forgiveness, etc.

CT state legislators need to be keenly aware of the effects on the CT economy of the proposed federal tax-cut legislation masquerading as repeal of the ACA. We will hold our Republican state legislators responsible if their federal colleagues pass this anti-people legislation.

We have outlived the health care financing system based on insurance, whether employer-provided, private, or public. Anthem, Aetna and Cigna will re-invent themselves, and take care of their shareholders. We need a Medicare for all Universal Health Care system such as proposed in H.B 676, which would do away with all insurance, and create a single system of health care, governed and administered locally, with care provided by private and public entities, and financed nationally by general taxation.