Tomorrow, March 23, 2017, the 7th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a bill that would gut the ACA, dramatically cut Medicaid payments to states, and undermine Medicare. If passed in the House, the Senate could vote on the bill as early as next week.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA), unveiled on March 6th, represents a profound regression of our nation’s health insurance coverage, yet it was rammed through two key House committees within hours of its introduction, and is being forced through Congress on a fast-track process. The Center for Medicare Advocacy strongly opposes this bill.
Among other things, AHCA would dismantle key structural supports and financing mechanisms of the ACA, provide tax cuts for the wealthy that would undermine Medicare’s financial stability, and allow insurance companies to dramatically increase the amount they can charge older adults age 50-64. Perhaps most devastatingly, the bill would structurally reform virtually the entire Medicaid program by limiting Medicaid payments to states, which would almost certainly result in cuts to services, eligibility and provider payments, and to fewer people obtaining coverage.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in a report issued on March 13th, highlighted the devastating impact AHCA would have, if enacted, including:
- 14 million people will become uninsured in 2018;
- 24 million people to be uninsured by 2026;
- Medicaid would be cut by $880 billion over the next ten years; and
- Premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase, particularly for older adults and individuals with lower incomes.
In an attempt to win over recalcitrant House members who were either alarmed at the harmful impact of the bill, or angry that the bill would not impose even more devastating cuts, Congressional leaders released amendments to AHCA on March 20th.
According to early analyses of these amendments, consumers would be left even worse off than they would be under the original AHCA bill. For example, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that this updated plan “makes it even more harmful for the tens of millions of children, seniors, people with disabilities, and other adults who rely on Medicaid.” In addition, Families USA states that as now written, the bill would “[l]eave millions of lower- and moderate-income individuals and older adults in the marketplace struggling with drastically higher premiums and deductibles.”
Congress must reject this bill that would leave millions uninsured, decimate the Medicaid program and put Medicare’s future at risk. It will make America sicker.
CONTACT CONGRESS AND TELL THEM TO PROTECT OUR CARE
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) would, among other things:
- Lead to 14 million people becoming uninsured next year, and 24 million by 2026;
- Provide tax cuts for the wealthy that would undermine Medicare’s financial stability;
- Allow insurance companies to dramatically increase the amount they can charge older adults age 50-64; and
- Gut Medicaid funding to states, which would almost certainly result in cuts to services, eligibility and provider payments, and far fewer people obtaining this critical health coverage.