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PNS Daily Newscast - October 17, 2017 


On the rundown; a new poll has Americans turning thumbs down on Trump’s hurricane response; changes in the works to North Carolina’s election law; a move to protect Central California wilderness; and making federal buildings “bird friendly”

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Report: Repealing ACA Without New Plan Would Devastate Families, Budget

Experts say services to help the elderly stay in their homes would likely be cut if the Affordable Care Act were to be repealed without a replacement. (AARP)
Experts say services to help the elderly stay in their homes would likely be cut if the Affordable Care Act were to be repealed without a replacement. (AARP)
July 20, 2017

PHOENIX -- Repealing Obamacare without a replacement would be a disaster for Arizona families and the health care system according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The report showed that either a total repeal or a revival of the Republican health care bill would put 400,000 Arizonans at risk of losing coverage. Jessica Schubel, author of the report and senior policy analyst with the center, said policymakers would do well to remember the budget crisis of 2011 - when Arizona had to slash the state's Medicaid program, even cutting coverage for certain types of transplants.

"Cutting these transplants, while saving the state $4.5 million per year, had devastating effects on people's lives,” Schubel said. "A father of six died before he could receive a bone marrow transplant, and a father of four with hepatitis-C lost the opportunity to get a new liver."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put off the Better Care Reconciliation Act for lack of votes and has said he may call a vote on a repealing the ACA without a replacement next week. The Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday that the solo repeal option would cause 32 million Americans to lose health coverage over the next 10 years - 17 million in the first year alone.

State Rep. Heather Carter, a Republican who chairs the House Health Committee, said Arizona reversed its cuts in 2013 because they were wreaking havoc.

"And the human toll from these cuts was real and it was heartbreaking,” Carter said. "And it also had a tremendous impact on our Arizona hospitals and our health care providers. The cost associated for caring for the uninsured brought many of our health care systems to the brink of bankruptcy."

After the cuts were restored, Carter said, coverage went up, uncompensated care dropped by 60 percent and billions of dollars flowed back into the economy. Former Gilbert Mayor John Lewis, now president of the East Valley Partnership, urged all sides to start from scratch and fix Obamacare by addressing rising costs and lack of competition among insurance providers.

"I understand the importance of input from both parties and especially governors being critical to produce a bill that will truly decrease health care costs, minimize the negative impact on state governments, and avoid taking away coverage without providing for transition options,” Lewis said.

The BCRA would transform Medicaid from an open-ended guarantee to a capped block grant program, which Gov. Doug Ducey has called "the single largest transfer of risk ever from the federal government to the states."

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ