Today, the National Alliance to End Homelessness officially announced its opposition to the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill.
There is much speculation in the media about whether the bill will pass the Senate before a September 30th deadline, but the Alliance believes it to still be alive. In fact, throughout negotiations, the bill’s most damaging components (which drastically cut Medicaid funding), continue to be its basis.
Medicaid is essential to combating homelessness. It enables homeless people to treat physical and mental health needs, and provides services for people in permanent supportive housing. Medicaid coverage also prevents people in poverty from experiencing acute medical or financial crises which may lead to homelessness.
The Alliance is grateful everyone who has reached out to their Senators to voice their opposition to this bill.
This week is crucial to protecting the resources communities need to fight homelessness. Your voice is making a difference. We’ve put together tools to make it easier to reach your Senator. Together, we can send a message that they need to:
- Vote NO on any healthcare bill that cuts, caps, or block grants Medicaid, or phases out the Medicaid expansion in any way.
- Commit to protecting coverage guarantees and service affordability for people escaping homelessness, including services for people with severe health or mental health conditions, and those recovering from substance abuse disorders.
NATIONAL ALLIANCE TO END HOMELESSNESS STATEMENT ON
The National Alliance to End Homelessness cannot support any legislation that significantly cuts Medicaid funding and phases out Medicaid expansion. The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill under consideration in the Senate represents a serious threat to essential funding and coverage for people at risk for or experiencing homelessness.
This bill under consideration makes significant changes to the structure of the 50-year-old “traditional” Medicaid program, converting it to a block grant with per-capita caps, funded at a level well below what current law would pay. In addition, it eliminates Medicaid “expansion,” replacing it with a separate block grant that is then eliminated in 2027. The combination strips away crucial resources that states and localities need to solve homelessness, especially for those who are most vulnerable.
Access to Medicaid is a powerful tool for local communities combating chronic homelessness. This work, recently highlighted in the Final Report of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, is a source of bipartisan pride in communities across the country. The service model involved, permanent supportive housing, provides housing assistance matched with health care, behavioral health treatment, and related services. Medicaid is a key source of funding. Severe cuts to Medicaid, regardless of the type, or the time period over which they occur, will greatly reduce crucial resources that fund services for people with disabilities and recovering from substance abuse disorders.
On a broader scale, the bill leaves more people vulnerable to homelessness. Independent experts have estimated that by 2027, as many as 32 million fewer people would have health care coverage under this proposal. Without adequate health coverage, more people will experience housing instability. As a result, health care and homeless systems will face greater demand, and the nation will be left footing the bill.
The Alliance urges the Senate to reject the current proposal, and return to the bipartisan, measured efforts for reform.
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