Amended Measure Would Effectively End Protection of People with Pre-Existing Conditions
Washington – To revive the House of Representatives’ so-called American Health Care Act, amendments have been made which make the bill even worse than before, and low-income individuals and underserved populations are still the primary target for harm.
The amended AHCA, as noted in this revised NHeLP Issue Brief, would still cause at least 24 million people to lose health care coverage, result in massive premium hikes for older adults, women, and persons with pre-existing conditions. The amended measure would still slash $880 billion from Medicaid, which provides health care coverage to more than 73 million low-income individuals and families from coast to coast. The savings from cutting Medicaid would be used to pay for outlandish tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.
The amended version of AHCA, however, is more severe, pushing for deeper cuts to health care for myriad individuals, especially older adults, pregnant women, and people with disabilities, many living in poverty. The amended measure would gut the ACA’s requirement that insurance plans cover basic health care services or “essential health benefits,” such as maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health.
National Health Law Program (NHeLP) Executive Director Elizabeth G. Taylor said the amended AHCA as “a callous, and politically motivated, attempt to give the Trump administration a legislative victory.”
She continued, “What the country needs is for lawmakers to come together in bipartisanship fashion to bolster and improve the ACA for all. That is the progress that so many are clamoring for. There is no groundswell of support for going back to the days before the ACA when quality health coverage was primarily for the wealthy and everyone else struggled with constantly rising premiums. That was a health care system in disarray.”
Managing Attorney of the DC Office Mara Youdelman added, “The amended AHCA may appease a very far right caucus in the House, but it is first and foremost an austerity policy that seeks to roll back progress, harming the most vulnerable among us. Medicaid expansion pursuant to the ACA, for example, effectively comes to end under the amended measure. And by cutting $880 billion from Medicaid and capping its funding, women, people of color, people living disabilities, those with pre-existing conditions, and people seeking care for substance use disorders will all be adversely impacted and disproportionately so. In times of great inequalities, this is not policy that is needed. All of us will be harmed – including our state economies – by reverting to days when access to health care was restricted and insurers were permitted to reap great rewards at the cost of consumers from all walks of life.”
Please contact the NHeLP Communications department at [email protected] or 202-552-5176 for further comment regarding political efforts to undo health care reform and the Medicaid guarantee. See our website for in-depth analysis of these efforts.
NHeLP, founded in 1969, advocates for the rights of low-income and underserved people to access quality health care.