Top Louisiana health official rips Cassidy over ObamaCare repeal bill

Top Louisiana health official rips Cassidy over ObamaCare repeal bill

Louisiana’s top health official sent a scathing letter to Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyEnergy Department clears ‘small-scale’ natural gas exports for fast approval GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Lawmakers pitch dueling plans for paid family leave MORE (R-La.) blasting his new bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, saying, “The harm to Louisiana from this legislation far outweighs any benefit.”

“The legislation you’ve introduced this past week gravely threatens health care access and coverage for our state and its people,” Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health Rebekah Gee wrote. 

Gee, who was appointed by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), detailed several concerns she has with Cassidy’s bill, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOn The Money: Turkey slaps more tariffs on US goods | Businesses fear blowback from Russia sanctions bill | Senate turns to toughest 'minibus' yet Businesses fear blowback from Russia sanctions bill White House staff offered discounts at Trump's NJ golf club: report MORE (R-S.C.). Gee says thousands of Louisiana citizens would lose health-care coverage due to the bill’s elimination of the Medicaid expansion in 2020, calling it a “detrimental step backwards” for the state.

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Gee also raised concerns about how the bill allows states to waive essential health benefits, which she says would “inevitably increase the cost of care for those who need it the most.”

“This bill, like ones before it, uniquely and disproportionately hurts Louisiana due to our recent expansion and high burden of extreme poverty,” Gee wrote.

“The cuts would threaten critical access and care for our most vulnerable Medicaid populations including the disabled, children, and pregnant women.”

Cassidy’s bill, which would replace much of ObamaCare with block grants for states, is gaining steam in the Senate, and the Congressional Budget Office will release a “preliminary assessment” of the bill next week.

Senate Democrats launched an hours-long talk-a-thon in protest of the bill on Monday night ahead of a potential vote on the bill next week.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerElection Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' Senate Democrats should stop playing politics on Kavanaugh Montana GOP Senate hopeful touts Trump's support in new ad MORE (D-N.Y.) said Monday he is willing to jam the Senate to stop the progress of the bill.

“We’re going to look at every possible way to slow this bill down," Schumer said.