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BPC Statement on Graham-Cassidy Amendment

Friday, September 22, 2017

Washington, D.C.– The following is a statement from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Future of Health Care policy experts in response to the current health care debate:

“Bipartisan, fully negotiated and analyzed reforms to our nation’s health care system are essential if we are to ensure access to quality, affordable health care coverage for all Americans. Cooperation across party lines is critical to creating legislation that will be sustainable over the long term. It is regrettable that consideration of the Graham-Cassidy amendment is taking place entirely outside of a productive bipartisan process.

“During a time of intense partisanship in Washington, we have been encouraged by the collaboration led by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA,) the chairman and ranking chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), and others. Their efforts to develop short-term approaches to stabilizing markets and giving states more flexibility should be a first step toward a needed bipartisan process addressing additional aspects of our health care system, with the eventual goal of a broader political agreement around the system’s fundamental design.

“Republicans and Democrats maintain substantive differences over the future of American health care. But we believe a determined bipartisan process can still produce substantive agreements on many critical issues because both parties want a system that delivers affordable, financially sustainable health care to all Americans.

“It is important for this Congress to embrace, as many previous congresses have, a bipartisan approach to important legislation. The failure to resolve policy differences between the parties in health care will only lead to further instability, as well as deepening political resentments, which would be detrimental to the well-being of the American public and to our democratic processes.”

This statement is from the BPC’s Expert Panel on the Future of Health Care: former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist; BPC senior advisor and former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Andy Slavitt; and senior fellow, Project Hope and former administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration Gail Wilensky. They are collaborating with BPC’s team of health policy experts which includes: Sheila Burke, BPC fellow and strategic advisor, Baker Donelson; Jim Capretta, resident fellow, Milton Friedman chair, American Enterprise Institute; Chris Jennings, BPC fellow and founder and president, Jennings Policy Strategies; Cindy Mann, partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP and former director of the Center for Medicaid; Alice Rivlin, senior fellow, Center for Health Policy, The Brookings Institution, and former director of the Office of Management and Budget; and Avik Roy, BPC senior advisor and co-founder and president, Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity.

KEYWORDS: HEALTH CARE, FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE INITIATIVE