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B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is pleased that the Senate has decided not to vote on the Cassidy-Graham health care bill. We encourage Congress to hold bipartisan meetings, like those that were taking place in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee that sought to stabilize the insurance market.
We ask Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to restart bipartisan negotiations to make health insurance stronger for older Americans.
In the Cassidy-Graham health care bill, low-income people would not have been guaranteed financial assistance for health care costs as now required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This would have had disastrous consequences for older adults already surviving on very limited means who can’t afford an increase in their monthly financial obligations.
This bill planned to convert traditional Medicaid into a per capita cap, which would have put undue financial burdens on state budgets, which in turn could have impacted low-income seniors who rely heavily on Medicaid. For example, nursing facilities and community based services which help countless seniors, could have been negatively impacted by the potential decrease in federal funding. B’nai B’rith strongly believes any legislation that passes Congress should protect people with pre-existing conditions and essential health care benefits.
Any health care reform legislation should be done through regular order where committee members can speak with experts in the field and find solutions to health care matters. Any future attempts by Congress to rush legislation of this magnitude will result in disastrous consequences—millions of Americans could lose their health insurance. Also, Congress should not pass a health care bill without a full Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score that provides a complete critical analysis of insurance coverage and premiums.