MECEP On Record: MECEP Strongly Opposes #GrahamCassidy

The Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) would like to go on record for today’s Senate Finance Committee hearing opposing the Graham-Cassidy bill. The bill poses grave harm for Mainers.

MECEP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research organization dedicated to improving economic opportunity for working families. We provide citizens, policymakers, advocates, and the media with credible and rigorous economic analyses to craft policies that will help Maine people prosper. MECEP analyzed previous bills that would have eliminated the Affordable Care Act, first on a House bill, and then a Senate bill. The Graham-Cassidy bill would result in the same severe losses for Maine people.

Maine would be hard hit by the Graham-Cassidy bill, which would result in over 160,000 Mainers losing health coverage, according to the Center for American Progress. These Mainers losing their health insurance are mostly working poor people who do not earn enough to meet the basic needs of their families.

The bill eliminates tax credits that help moderate-income Mainers afford marketplace coverage. Mainers already face more expensive health care than most of the rest of the country; Graham-Cassidy would only make it worse. These cuts will hit older Mainers, and those living in the state’s rural areas especially hard, because the sticker price of insurance is so high in these areas.

In addition, the bill would allow states like Maine to waive existing requirements that protect people with pre-existing conditions, bar annual or lifetime limits on coverage, and cover key services like comprehensive reproductive health services for women. Graham-Cassidy will negatively impact the health of thousands of Mainers.

The bill eliminates the ACA’s Medicaid expansion provision; which could provide life-saving health coverage to more than 70,000 Mainers living in, or near, poverty. Most who would qualify are working in low-wage jobs—jobs where health insurance is not offered or is unaffordable. While Maine has not yet expanded Medicaid, citizens, through our state’s ballot initiative process, have come together to ask Maine voters to approve such an expansion. Voters will consider the question this November.

Lastly, deep cuts and caps to Medicaid would cost Maine an estimated $180 million in 2026. Maine will lose a total of $1 billion by 2027 compared with current law, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The Graham-Cassidy bill would devastate hard-working Maine families, jeopardize their livelihoods and their health, and cost the state millions in federal funds. MECEP strongly opposes this bill.