The American Health Care Act (AHCA), passed by the House by 4 votes on May 4, 2017, has now moved to the Senate for consideration. Early next week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to issue a report on the most recent amended version of ACHA that passed the House, including whether anticipated impacts are even worse than projections on previous versions of the bill. As we have expressed elsewhere, if enacted, AHCA would roll back important consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), dramatically increase the number of uninsured individuals in our country, dramatically increase costs for older adults age 50-64, undermine Medicare’s finances, and drastically gut the Medicaid program, putting millions at risk of diminished coverage and access to care.
So far, it appears the Senate is taking the same secretive approach as the House – crafting a bill behind closed doors, with no public hearings. While the fate of people with pre-existing conditions understandably took the spotlight leading up to passage of AHCA in the House, less attention has been paid to how AHCA would go far beyond the stated goal of some policymakers to “repeal Obamacare” and decimate the Medicaid program by fundamentally restructuring it. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) states, AHCA would end Medicaid as we know it, and “would have a devastating impact on health care for over 70 million people who rely on Medicaid, including over 30 million children and millions of seniors, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and low-income adults.” While some early reports indicate that the Senate might reject some of the House’s attacks on consumer protections, including relating to pre-existing conditions, the threat to Medicaid remains dire.
As the Senate considers health reform, we urge members to consider the impact on the health and welfare of people covered by the ACA, Medicare and Medicaid, and reject the American Health Care Act. The Center for Medicare Advocacy will continue to fight to save Medicaid, Medicare and health care, but we need your support. Make your donation online and help #ProtectOurCare!