Amended Measure Would Effectively End Protection of People with Pre-Existing Conditions
Washington – The House of Representatives today passed the so-called American Health Care Act, a bill more cruel and regressive than the initial version that would harm tens of millions of low-income individuals and underserved populations from coast to coast.
The AHCA, if enacted, will cause at least 24 million people to lose health care coverage and result in massive premium hikes for older adults, women, and persons with pre-existing conditions. The bill allots money for so-called “high-risk pools,” but “high risk pools” mean waiting lists, sky high premiums and limited care. In addition, this bill would still slash at least $840 billion from Medicaid, which provides health care coverage to more than 73 million low-income individuals and families across the country. The savings from cutting Medicaid, moreover, would be used to pay for outlandish tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.
The new AHCA is even more severe than the original bill. For example, the measure guts the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that insurance plans cover basic health care services or “essential health benefits,” such as maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health. Further, all individuals receiving employer-sponsored insurance could once again face annual and lifetime limits.
National Health Law Program (NHeLP) Executive Director Elizabeth G. Taylor urged the Senate to reject the extreme measure and save the health care system from a return to the days of high uninsured rates and outrageous health care costs for all but the super wealthy,
“The measure approved by the House is austerity run amok,” Taylor said. “If allowed to stand it will result in millions losing access to vital health care coverage, including the most underserved individuals and populations in this country. The president did not campaign on wrecking the health care system; indeed he loudly claimed no one would lose health care coverage under his plan.”
Managing Attorney of the DC Office Mara Youdelman added, “The AHCA is a deeply flawed measure that disproportionately harms the most vulnerable among us to pay for policies that coddle the wealthy and big business. Slashing $840 billion from Medicaid funding will decimate a program vital to the health of women, people of color, people living with disabilities, people with pre-existing conditions, and people seeking care for substance use disorders. 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.