Republicans Advancing Longstanding Austerity Policies That Limit Access to Health Care for Low-Income Individuals and Underserved Communities
Despite growing public outcry over their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans are moving forward with a plan that champions conservative policies that would result in tens of millions of Americans losing health care coverage. The bill will apparently be pushed through Congress at breakneck speed, with no hearings and no budgetary score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The bill trumpets health savings accounts, tax credits, and a per capita cap on Medicaid funding that would cause states to limit access to Medicaid. This is not replacement legislation, it is a measure intended to repeal the ACA and destroy Medicaid as we know it. The bill also blocks Medicaid beneficiaries from accessing preventive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
“This is repeal of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion pure and simple, there is no replacement,” National Health Law Program (NHeLP) Executive Director Elizabeth G. Taylor said. “Donald Trump promised repeatedly as a candidate to ensure no person would be cut from Medicaid. The Trump administration should reassure Americans he intends to keep his promise. Moderate Republicans in Congress should intervene and stop their party from destroying a program that has not only provided quality health care to millions of Americans, but has bolstered state economies, providers, hospitals, schools, and other segments of our society.”
Legal Director Jane Perkins said the bill endangers the lives of the most vulnerable among us – children, women, the elderly, and those living with disabilities and chronic health care conditions.
“The bill introduces a per capita cap allotment and other provisions that upend the Medicaid bargain that states were offered when the program was established in 1965,” Perkins said. “With capped and significantly reduced federal funding, health care costs will shift dramatically to the states. We can expect states to cut health services and limit eligibility. We are extremely concerned that these actions will hit children, older adults, pregnant women, communities of color, and people living with disabilities hard. It is unconscionable that this kind of destructive legislation should be shoved through the legislative process and foisted on a public that supports and relies on Medicaid.”
NHeLP Managing Attorney of the DC Office Mara Youdelman said Republicans would peddle their austerity bill as a replacement of the ACA and reform of Medicaid.
“No one should be fooled. A fair read of this bill reveals its aim is to cut people off from vital health care coverage. This bill is about attacking progressive reform of the health care system, which resulted in the lowest uninsured rates in 50 years. If this bill becomes law it will exacerbate economic inequality and expand poverty, and it will increase the health care costs for working class families nationwide.”
NHeLP and other public interest groups and individuals will fight this legislation and other legislation that fails to protect health care coverage for the more than 20 million who gained coverage through the ACA and the 74 million individuals who rely on Medicaid.
NHeLP has published the following material providing analysis of repealing the ACA and changing the structure of Medicaid funding, and what they mean for Americans.
Please contact the NHeLP Communications department at [email protected] or 202-552-5176 for further comment regarding the political efforts to undo health care reform and the Medicaid guarantee.