Graham-Cassidy U.S. Senate Legislation

Graham-Cassidy U.S. Senate Legislation

We interrupt our series of blogs on “Silicon Valley in Healthcare” to quickly address the pending United States Senate legislation on “ObamaCare repeal.”

I do not remember a time where there has been total opposition to a legislation such as this one. I have never been on the same side at the same time with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, the American Hospital Association, and dozens more.

The problems that friends and traditional adversaries all see is the same, even if it’s from different points of view. In many of our blogs, we have highlighted the fundamental problems with ObamaCare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), and we have made numerous suggestions. We have also advocated experimenting by giving states block grants, as we believe the real innovation will be at the state level.

However, we have advocated a systematic and progressive approach – not a turning of a switch approach. We are now in an executed ACA; therefore, the solutions are different than if it did not already exist and millions of American were benefiting from it today. We have warned that the “repeal and replace” approach will be painful, and that it will leave many Americans in a desperate position.

Though the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has yet to a pipe in on this legislation, you don’t need to be an economist to see the major consequences of this legislation, and the material impact it will have on millions of Americans. There is little doubt in our mind that 10+ million people will lose coverage. We are particularly concerned by those millions of Americans that have pre-existing conditions, that could lose coverage, or coverage could be prohibitively expensive. We are also very concerned by the “trailing Baby-Boomers,” such as myself, between the ages of 55 and 64 years old who could see a dramatic multifold increase in healthcare coverage cost.

We continue to advocate for these four solutions going forward from here:

• First, a slow approach to block grants to the states, while firmly protecting those with pre-existing conditions and middle-age Americans. Everyone should have the opportunity to buy health insurance in America.

• Second, material reform and transparency of healthcare costs, that will for the first time in a generation, allow major market forces and consumerism to affect healthcare cost.

• Third, material reduction and regulations that add cost, without bringing value, and in most cases reducing market competition in healthcare.

• Fourth, a material increase in the use of technology, to both improve the quality, and reduce the cost of healthcare. This includes better use of personal wellness records, and integration of wearables, to improve wellness.

From a political perspective, it is likely that those types of solutions addressed above may only be achievable by bringing all the parties together, and reaching a majority consensus.

– Noel J. Guillama, President