Thune, Rounds Support Cutting Federal Funds to SD, Raising Premiums 750%

Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds will vote for Cassidy-Graham, the worst Republican Affordable Care Act repealer yet, even though they have no report from the Congressional Budget Office telling them what impacts the bill will have. But they do have this report from Avalere Health, which says Cassidy-Graham will cut federal funding to states by $489 billion from 2020 to 2027 and $4.15 trillion by 2036. South Dakota will gain $1 billion by 2027 but give that back and experience a net loss of $4 billion in federal health funding by 2037.

Avalere Cassidy-Graham by state
Elizabeth Carpenter and Chris Sloan, “
Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Bill Would Reduce Federal Funding to States by $215 Billion,” Avalere Health, 2017.09.20.

Senators Thune and Rounds also have this report from AARP saying that Cassidy-Graham could cause crushing premium increases for older Americans:

The Graham-Cassidy (GC) bill, as proposed on September 13, 2017, threatens to make health care unaffordable and inaccessible for millions of older Americans. The bill eliminates two sources of financial assistance—premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions—critical to ensuring that low- to moderate-income older adults are able to afford the coverage they need. For a 60-year-old earning $25,000 a year, premiums and out-of-pocket costs could increase by as much as $16,174 a year if they wanted to keep their current coverage. The bill may also allow states to charge older adults age 50–64 significantly higher premiums than under current law on the basis of their age by waiving federal protections that limit the practice known as age rating [Lina Walker et al., “Graham-Cassidy Legislation Threatens Affordable Coverage for Older Americans,” AARP, September 2017].

The Affordable Care Act’s tax credits and premium subsidies help 60-year-olds making $25K pay just $1,608 for health insurance. Yanking those credits and subsidies in South Dakota could drive that premium up to $13,768, a 750% increase.

But who cares about making South Dakotans pay more than half their income for worse health insurance? Thune and Rounds have a score to settle with that darned Barack Obama!

49 Responses to Thune, Rounds Support Cutting Federal Funds to SD, Raising Premiums 750%

  1. The GOP party has been saying for years that Obamacare is bad, but they can’t come up with anything better. Now the pressure is on for them to back up their repeal words with actions, so they have to do something / anything. All hat. No cattle.

  2. Darin Larson

    Republicans have turned the issue of healthcare in this country into a speedbump on the way to tax cuts for the wealthy. They are illustrating that their promises of better healthcare for more Americans than Obamacare at less cost were just lies.

    Now they are trying to ramrod this through before the CBO can examine its effect on the number of Americans that will lose their healthcare and the cost of their program. Republican motivation is clearly not to make sure that more Americans have healthcare at a lower cost. Their motivation is to cut the cost enough to try to justify large tax cuts primarily for corporations and wealthy individuals.

  3. mike from iowa

    ‘nother self-fulfilling prophecy direct from Wingnuts-R-Us. Wingnuts warned you you can’t trust the fed when it comes to funding and to ensure that prophecy they trot out this cluster of wingnut fantasies about tossing the elderly, disabled and kiddies under the bus. Kristians my arse.

  4. I’m not sure how many times I have written this but the statement remains true. Health coverage with the ACA is the best insurance my husband and I have had in 40 years of marriage. Prior to this, preexisting conditions and age sent our deductibles and premiums soaring if we could find coverage at all.
    Now, according to statistics, 70,000 South Dakotans will lose coverage with the Graham Cassidy do Thune and Rounds advocate this?

  5. mike from iowa AP overhears Graham selling this cluster to other sinators despite all the bill’s shortcomings.

  6. mike from iowa

    Straight from the horse’s arse (my boy Chuck) Surprise! Repeal bill is full of lies.

  7. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.

    So in other words, Senator Thune will not have to worry about running with this until he seeks a fifth term in 2028, and for Senator Rounds, well, not until he seeks a fourth term in 2032….. How convenient……

  8. Again, expand Medicare for All and then see the masses that would be signing up for it AND be satisfied with it. I’ll gladly pay more federal taxes to help pay for it. It shouldn’t be this hard, America!

  9. mike from iowa

    What is the consensus in South Dakota? Do the people want to keep the ACA or are they willing to trust lying wingnuts? If the public wants what they have now, then who are your representatives representing?

  10. Donald Pay

    JK asks: How do Thune and Rounds advocate for Cassidy-Graham?

    A: They don’t care. This is what people need to know about the Republicans in Congress. They don’t care about you or any other person receiving health care through the ACA. They care only about themselves and their wealthy supporters. That’s the alpha and omega of their “care.” Has Rounds or Thune ever bothered to visit with anyone who would be affected by Cassidy-Graham? No. They don’t care. They don’t have time for you and your petty concerns about health care. Making sure they can give a big tax break to multi-billionaires? Now that’s something they care about. But you? You’re nothing. You deserve nothing, and that’s what Rounds and Thune want you to know. They don’t care.

  11. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.

    McCain just said “NO!”…… A hero once again. I don’t know about you, but I prefer heroes who demonstrate “Profiles in Courage” like Senator McCain….. ;-)

  12. Mr. Lansing

    Of the four losing candidates (John Kerry, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton) I like McCain the most. Both parties have “done the right thing” and nominated the next in line and that loyalty above popularity cost both sides. That’s why Sanders and Warren would both be losing nominees. IMHO

  13. Maybe they should follow the lead of John McCain and vote not to preserve the pre existing clause in Obama care.. Our delegation of Noem, Rounds and Thune are mean people who have sold us out to the insurance carriers.

    They reap record profits and we die

  14. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.

    But absent the “Super Delegates,” when taking note of the crowd sizes, Sanders was the nominee. Sanders lost the presidency in dubious form before Hillary ever had a chance….

  15. Well said, Donald Pay.

  16. Darin Larson

    Last night I watched another installment of the Ken Burns documentary series on the Vietnam War. Lo and behold they showed the grainy black and white interview of John McCain as he lay in a North Vietnamese hospital bed with two broken arms and a broken leg after being shot down in a jet on a bombing run over Hanoi. After McCain spoke on camera, he was beaten for not showing enough appreciation for his North Vietnamese captors. A man like him that has been broken and tortured like he was in war and still endured with a steely resolve for what is right is not afraid to vote against his friends when circumstances call on him to do so.

    Trump only likes winners. John McCain is a winner in the truest sense of the word in my book. The problem for our country is Trump is a loser in many ways and his actions usually manifest themselves as reactions to his insecurities. Deep down I think Trump knows he doesn’t hold a candle to John McCain. This was a profile in courage.

  17. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.

    Well said, Mr. Larson!…. Well said!…..

  18. mike from iowa

    It will take at least 2 or 3 other wingnut defectors to stop the repeal. Paul doesn’t think it cuts enough of Obamacare. Collins of Maine and Murkowski of Alaska haven’t voted for the other clusters and I hope they don’t. Wingnuts are trying to bribe Alaska by letting them keep Obamacare plus give them block grant money as well. Capito of West Virginia is a possible not vote, as well.

  19. When you get single payer you will all understand. . .

  20. Distraction, OldSarg—you again want to bark your trained slogans, but we don’t have to advocate single-payer or any of the superior health coverage systems of every other industrialized nation to win these arguments for which you are not prepared:

    (1) Thune and Rounds are advocating a health care policy that would jack up South Dakotans’ premiums and reduce federal support for public health care in South Dakota (as supported by evidence provided above).

    (2) As Darin notes, the GOP is not working on good policy to serve the general welfare. They are rushing ahead without solid CBO information or, as John McCain said in his second big no-way-José today, comprehensive bipartisan discussion, hearings, and debate to beat an artificial deadline to score political points.

  21. the only thing that will fix this is voting republicans out of office.

    You must register and vote Democratic now, and for every local state and national office in every election, vote every time.

    Republican Sen Lindsey Grahm said yesterday “What’s coming over time is the collapse of Medicaid. It’s just fiscally unsustainable.” So they are after Medicaid next. That they can say the ACA was in collapse for the last 8 or so years and get away with it, they are going to do the same for Medicaid. They have already killed 30-90 people in SD annually for the last 5 years or so by refusing hundreds of millions of dollars to come into the state and support Medicaid expansion.

    Thune Rounds and Noem are nothing but lying bastards to you people in SD.

    1. When the ACA was enacted about 2010 republicans, including the Rapid City Journal editors, lied and said NO REPUBLICANS VOTED FOR IT, THAT THEY WERE SHUT OUT BY DEMOCRATS. Lie no. 1! Republicans made 900 plus amendments to the ACA before it passed. That lie was trumpeted for 8 years.

    2. Lie no. 2. Now Thune, Rounds, Noem and Trump are lying again saying the ACA is failing, that it is in a death spiral, and are consciously, intentionally sabotaging the ACA’s continued successful effect on 360 M Americans. Rounds told me to my “face” the ACA was absolutely failing 3 weeks ago.

    Republican politicians of every stripe except McCain, Murkowski and Snow “… are blatantly attempting to … vote for a plan that would cause 32 million Americans to lose their health insurance and put the cost of covering preexisting conditions through the roof,” 9.22.2017

  22. Why are our legislators lying to us about this?

    Because ” the Koch brothers warned that time is running out to push their agenda, most notably healthcare and tax reform, through Congress.”

    The Guardian explains why the Republicans are fighting so hard to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare after trying and failing several times already — because major conservative paymasters are demanding it before they spend money to help Republicans in the midterm elections. Read more at

    Republicans, why do your legislators work for the Koch Brothers (they recently open a SD office in SD)?????????????????

  23. Ms. leslie, here in South Dakota, where you don’t live, almost everybody knows that Obamacare was a hoodwinking jammed down the maws of people without input from Republicans. It is bad. It is very bad.

  24. Donald Pay

    Grudz, Stop lying. The ACA had nearly a year and a half of input. This input came from Republicans, Democrats and Independents. It came from health insurance interests, all medical interest groups, and, most notably, from ordinary citizens. The market place for the individual market exchange was a conservative think tank idea, as was the individual mandate. Republican amendments to the plan were voted on and some were accepted. These are all facts that are readily available to anyone with the ability to Google. You have no idea what you are talking about.

  25. Donald Pay

    A slight amendment to my response to Grudz. What didn’t get fully addressed in the discussions over the ACA were single payer systems or a public option.

  26. Mr. Pay, you don’t live in South Dakota. How do you know what most everybody here wants and thinks? It can’t be from the bloggings here, since Ms. leslie, Mr. Lansing et al aren’t from South Dakota either. And mike, well everybody knows he’s from Iowa. Mr. Sibby, on the other hand, he’s from South Dakota. Sibby, what do you think about Obamacare?

  27. mike from iowa

    Hey Grudz, Obamacare has 188 wingnut amendments in it compared to zero Democrat input in the Drumpfcare plan. The ACA was basically a reworked idea from wingnuts who would not vote for it because it was proposed by a black Potus. Stop lying and learn some history.

  28. Mr. Lansing

    Mr. Grudzie … Obamacare is a national program. It’s the same wherever you live. In Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado or under a haystack, like you. lol goat!!!

  29. Donald Pay

    Most of the ACA is national in scope, but there are options for states to seek different ways of doing things. South Dakota’s leaders opted out of setting up its own exchange, Grudz, and it refused to expand Medicaid to cover more people. In essence it opted to make the ACA less effective in South Dakota, less tailored to state needs.

    I doubt that those decisions had anything to do with what the people in South Dakota wanted. South Dakota’s political elite is geared toward corruption, and the ACA, as structured, provides little opportunity for that. Now if they end up block granting all this federal money to the states, then you will see the South Dakota political elite skimming a little here a little there. That’s why the South Dakota elite would be in favor of Cassidy-Graham, not because it would provide superior health coverage to South Dakotans.

    Yeah, I haven’t been in South Dakota for 16 years, but I think I know generally how things work there. Cassidy-Graham provides a wet dream for the political elite there. There are lots of opportunities for corruption with all that money coming in a very little in the way of accountability.

    And, really, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. It matters what the facts are, and you, my dear Mr. Grudz, are not stating the facts. You are being like Trump when he says, “Many people say…”, and then lies repeatedly. Start dealing in reality and we might get somewhere.

  30. I wonder if Thune and Rounds even know what they are voting for? From what I see, it does not matter what the legislation is, they will vote for any legislation that they are told will repeal ACA.

    It is time to stop these stupid party line political agendas and work together to make this county better!

  31. mike from iowa

    Dumbass South Dakota missed out on a billion bucks, more jobs and more people with insurance because they didn’t trust their party’s government not to withhold monies.

    Oh, just once allow wingnuts to commit political suicide by tossing millions off insurance and foodstamps and then have those decisions immediately bite wingnuts on their butts.

    Wakeup, America and kick the koch bros wholly owned subsidiaries out of government-nationally and statewide.

  32. “1) Thune and Rounds are advocating a health care policy that would jack up South Dakotans’ premiums”

    They are already JACKED! In 2008 the average annual Health Insurance premium was $4,233/yr. In 2017 the average was $15,234/yr!

    How much more of the people’s money do you think this government needs to take?

    If the bill doesn’t pass and return the authority to the states it will only worsen. The federal government is not giving you anything. You pay for every dollar the federal government gives back to you. Not a one of you can seriously “think” that some some Poly Sci major sitting in a DC office is the best person to provide heath insurance for your family but that is who is doing this. I say, given South Dakota’s financial standing, state retirement program’s performance and balanced budget they are certainly more qualified to handle health insurance at the state level as opposed to the federal monolith shoving its programs down on the people.

  33. Mr. Lansing

    You are so off base and ill informed, OS. Tell him, Cory.

  34. Mr. Lansing: “You are so off base and ill informed, OS. Tell him, Cory.”

    Tell him Cory! Please stand up for me and tell him he’s a bad man that picks on me with facts! Tell him Cory!!

  35. Donald Pay, I hear you and agree although I would like to believe the voter stands for something…more and more the reality is dismal.

  36. I am all in favor of congratulating McCain for taking the right stand on this issue again, but please do not make it sound like McCain has some individual veto power. He is the 51st vote against the repeal, so let us be sure to congratulate ALL the Democrats and McCain’s fellow Republican senators who have taken a stand against these repeals constituently and early in this discussion.

    OldSarge, insurance rates have increased, that doesn’t mean that they cannot go up faster or that the absence of the ACA would have averted this increase. Do not confuse correlation with causation. The stronger economic argument is that the ACA kept rates from going even more ballistic for the limited pool that did have insurance before the ACA.

  37. O gets how OldSarg is doggedly missing the point. Right now, the 60-year-old South Dakotan in AARP’s example can get health coverage for $1,608 out of pocket. Thune and Rounds would vote for a plan that would cause that 60-year-old South Dakotans to pay his insurer as much as $13,768 next year. That’s a far bigger personal financial hit than anything the ACA did to that same person. (Remember, ACA probably made it easier for that person to get and keep health insurance; heck, that individual may not even have been able to get insurance pre-ACA.

    So imagine the political impact, OldSarg, of a 750% increase in out-of-pocket costs for thousands of individual voters, plus many of those voters losing their coverage completely. You haven’t denied those impacts happen; can you even offer any evidence that the abstract ideological gain of “returning authority to the states” will outweigh the broad outrage people feel at seeing their costs skyrocket, contrary to Trump’s promise to make insurance cheaper and care better for everybody?

  38. If Thune and Rounds can prevent anyone else from defecting along with McCain, their votes will also kill Americans:

    With these massive sums being flung around, it is easy to forget that this is about our health as human beings. The evidence is that health-care programs like the A.C.A. save lives. The way they do so is by increasing the number of people who have affordable access to a regular source of care and needed medications. Such coverage has been shown to produce a substantial and increasing reduction in mortality—especially among those with chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, or H.I.V.—in as little as five years.

    Virtually all of us, as we age, will develop serious health conditions. A critical test of any health reform, therefore, is whether it improves or reduces our prospects of having the continuous care and medicines we need when we come to have a chronic illness. The Graham-Cassidy bill fails this test. It will terminate Medicaid coverage and insurance subsidies for some twenty million people. The entire individual-insurance market will be thrown into a tailspin. Federal protections for insurance coverage will be gone [Atul Gawande, “If the U.S. Adopts the G.O.P.’s Health Care Bill, It Would Be an Act of Mass Suicide,” The New Yorker, 2017.09.22].

    “Returning control to the states” is such beautiful abstraction. Maybe we should do the same with our nuclear weapons and the entire military. Maybe we should do the same with trade agreements, immigration, and the coining of money.

    The world would be so much simpler if we could just philosophize all day instead of having to deal with practical policy impacts on real people.

  39. bearcreekbat

    “Returning control to the states” seems an odd objective as it seems obvious that the States already are in “control” through their elected federal representatives.

    And what is the factual basis for the implication that “some Poly Sci major sitting in a DC office” somehow is not intelligent or competent enough? Are you (Oldsarg) saying that anyone with such a background is inherently incompetent? Or are you stating that the actual study of political science leads to incompetence?

  40. “You haven’t denied those impacts happen” Cory, don’t deny that fact that Obummer Care has already driven the price of health insurance up 4X in the last nine years then. . .

    The Government does nothing cheap and anyone that thinks more government will make things better is a fool.

    #10 for drinks tonight! Come on up. Band starts at 9!!!

  41. mike from iowa

    The ACA was enacted in 2014- a scarce three years ago, Old Bad at Math. So tell me that wingnuts withholding federal monies for high risk pools last fall and the uncertain vibes wingnuts have been tossing insurance companies about market stability have had nothing to do with price increases.

    And while you gloat about price increases, do you get kickbacks for every person that dies from not having insurance? You seem to be exuberant about other people’s misfortunes.

  42. Darin Larson

    Oldsarge, you have to admit that the ACA was one powerful law. I mean what other law do we have that you say could go back in time 6 years before the law was effective and change the course of history by raising insurance costs. I have never thought to argue that a law should be repealed because it changed history. Did the ACA also kill the Lindbergh baby?

  43. “Trump is a loser in many ways and his actions usually manifest themselves as reactions to his insecurities. Deep down I think Trump knows he doesn’t hold a candle to John McCain”-thks darin


    grudz u r a Neanderthal, …cweepy. ugh

    sarge. r u a card player or a dancer?

  44. Cory, pls ban grudz. “It” is a chauvinist, a pig, that attempts to elicit personal information about me here on the blog. Additionally, it appears to be an insidious sexual pervert, misogynist, and devious poster with ulterior political motives making personal attacks a modus operendi. Such provocative deceit is harmful. We would be better without it, and likely better, for that matter, with Larry back, who was always truthful as far as I could see. Thanks for your consideration.

  45. Thank you for the compliments, Ms. leslie. I, too, agree it would be nice to have Lar back. I get emails from him often but having him here was more fun.

  46. Alzheimer disease is here and it is coming on very fast all over the country. Thune and Rounds better get ready for the disaster they are bringing to many doorsteps with their hate.

  47. mike from iowa

    Crime rates go down where healthcare is expanded. Sounds like a win-win.