September 26, 2017

Citing the loss of billions of dollars to Maryland, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on Tuesday announced his opposition to the latest health care bill Republican senators introduced to replace the Affordable Care Act.

The bill proposes a system of block grants to the states to fund and administer their own health care. Some states would receive more funding than they currently do under the Affordable Care Act, while others would lose some funding. The entire amount of federal spending would ultimately be cut by $215 billion between 2020 and 2026, according to statistics from the consulting firm Avalere Health quoted in the article.

"I don't think it addresses why our health care cost is so high," SPH Department of Health Services Administration Associate Professor Dylan Roby is quoted as saying. "It tries to address health care spending, but it doesn't necessarily reduce health care spending overall. [Instead] it just puts pressure on the states to figure out a way to pay for that health care spending."

In the article, Roby explains that “while the bill does aim to cut down federal health care costs, it plans to do so by shifting the spending and providing the states with capped payments.”

"I think it will create an even more fragmented system," Roby said. "[We] will probably end up with a tale of two worlds, where states that are willing to raise taxes and highly regulate their insurance industry might be able to survive and continue providing universal coverage for their residents, [while] states that don't have that ability … will suffer quite a bit. It is possible that those states will have an even higher uninsured rate.”

The article also referenced a School of Public Health-hosted seminar on the Graham-Cassidy bill on Thursday with guest speaker Dr. Andy Schneider, a Georgetown research professor who served as a senior adviser at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the Obama administration.

"There is no way in which this bill is better than the [Affordable Care Act]," Schneider is quoted as saying. "[The passing of the bill] would be a huge mistake for the country. It would do nothing to deal with the price of drugs, the price of hospital care, the price of physician services [and] the price of ambulatory services."

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Dylan H. Roby