Politics

Democratic Governor Blasts GOP For Celebrating AHCA

| by Ray Brown

Virginia's Democratic governor criticized Republicans for celebrating the passage of the American Health Care Act, the GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act, which is commonly called Obamacare.

"They're having a big beer party celebrating what they did," Gov. Terry McAuliffe told CNN. "People are going to lose lives. People are going to lose health coverage and they think this is a party? They think this is fun?"

He added: "These are real people and real numbers and unfortunately the rhetoric of political campaigning has come in and it will do grave danger to the country."

McAuliffe went on to point out that the Republican health care bill, which is headed for a vote in the Senate, is expected to cut Medicaid and Medicare by $800 billion.

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"Who do you think is going to be affected by that?" McAuliffe said. "What [Republicans] are doing is they put people's lives in jeopardy. People will die if this becomes law of the land."

The governor said slashing Medicaid and Medicare will have a severe impact on the working poor.

"In Virginia, we have a very lean Medicaid delivery system already," he said. "If you are a single woman with two children in Virginia, you have to make less than $6,200 a year. What do you you want me to do, cut it to $5,000 a year?"

The expected gutting of Medicaid and Medicare has alarmed many groups, including school advocacy groups, such as the School Superintendents Association, the National School Boards Association and the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, which said the cuts will negatively impact special education students, according to Education Week.

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Public schools get $4 billion annually from Medicaid to help pay for Special Education classes. And in a letter to Congress signed by each of those organizations, the importance of those funds was explained.

"The projected loss of $880 billion in federal Medicaid dollars will compel states to ration health care for children," the letter stated.

The letter added: "Under the per-capita caps included in the AHCA, health care will be rationed and schools will be forced to compete with other critical health care providers -- hospitals, physicians, and clinics -- that serve Medicaid-eligible children. School-based health services are mandated on the states and those mandates do not cease simply because Medicaid funds are capped by the AHCA. As with many other unfunded mandates, capping Medicaid merely shifts the financial burden of providing services to the states."

Sources: CNN, Education Week, AASA / Photo credit: Joint Base Langley-Eustis

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