ACS CAN Urges Gov. Hutchinson to Rethink Support of Graham-Cassidy Repeal Bill; Warns of Negative Impacts on Cancer Patients and Survivors in Arkansas

September 20, 2017

September 20, 2017



The Honorable Asa Hutchinson Office of the Governor

State Capitol

Room 250

Little Rock, AR 72201



Dear Governor Hutchinson,


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, is the nation’s largest patient advocacy organization, dedicated to eliminating death and suffering from cancer through evidence-based public policy. We represent millions of cancer patients, survivors and their families across the United States.


This letter follows up on my earlier two communications this year regarding federal legislation to repeal and replace the current health care law.  ACS CAN was disappointed that yesterday, you publicly supported the proposal offered by Senators Graham and Cassidy. We would like to provide you with our best information on the potential impact of that bill on cancer patients in the state of Arkansas.

As drafted the Graham-Cassidy legislation would end the Medicaid expansion completely and place a per capita cap on traditional Medicaid, remove funding protections for children and disabled Americans, and impose a dramatic reduction in Medicaid support to your state over the next decade and beyond.  In addition, the bill eliminates the marketplace premium subsidies and cost sharing subsidies effectively shutting down the marketplace created under current law. Finally, the bill would roll back important essential health benefit protections, and potentially open the door to annual and lifetime caps on coverage, endangering access to critical care for millions of Americans.


Accordingly, we are urging senators to oppose the legislation because it completely fails to protect cancer patients and millions of other Americans who would lose their coverage and access to affordable health care.


By contrast we have been encouraged by the bipartisan hearings spearheaded by Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and by Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in the Senate Finance Committee. These efforts, focused on market stabilization and other critical issues, represent a promising first step toward addressing our nation’s health care challenges. Bipartisan agreement on the Children’s Health Insurance Program also represents a welcome return to regular order, and we applaud the committees for undertaking this critical work.


We ask you to urge your Senators to support this important bipartisan effort, and to oppose the extreme repeal bill now being advanced by Senators Graham and Cassidy.


I am including some data developed by ACS CAN which shows the impact of Graham-Cassidy on Arkansas


If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss further the impact of the Graham-Cassidy and the  significant impact on the cancer burden in your state, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected] or Michael Keck, our Arkansas Government Relations Director, at  [email protected] or 501.658.4632.


We stand ready to work with both sides of the aisle to build long-lasting bipartisan solutions both now and in the future.



Christopher W. Hansen