House Passes AHCA ~ Takes Away Health Care Protections & Affordability from Millions of Americans

House Passes AHCA ~ Takes Away Health Care Protections & Affordability from Millions of Americans

By a margin of 4 votes, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This legislation guts the Medicaid program and puts an unprecedented and unsustainable burden of cost on older adults between 50-64 years of age and those who are sick.

Among the many health care protections stripped from Americans, the AHCA allows states to waive the current ACA mandate of all health plans covering the “essential health benefits”. These benefits include maternity care, emergency services, preventive services, mental health care, and hospitalizations.

The AHCA also not only allows plans to charge older adults 5 times as much as younger ones, but also allows states to waive that rule and establish an even higher ratio. This age tax will lead to substantially higher premiums for older people not yet eligible for Medicare, premiums that could potentially equally half or all of their yearly income, thus forcing many to choose low quality plans, or forego having any coverage at all.

While the Congressional Budget Office did not have time to publish its impact report on this newer version of the AHCA before the House voted, this version is no better than the first. Therefore, all the conclusions the first CBO analysis reported are true with this legislation. Such conclusions include that Medicaid would be cut by $880 billion over 10 years. This cut would be disastrous for the many older Americans who rely upon Medicaid for in-home assistance, nursing home care, and other health care services. Drastic funding decreases would virtually guarantee that state Medicaid programs would need to ration care. The CBO report also concludes that 24 million Americans would lose insurance coverage by 2026 — 14 million of them under Medicaid.

The list of repealed protections goes on. As this legislation is slated to next go to the Senate, it is imperative to stop it in its tracks. As our society ages, Medicare and Medicaid are increasingly the backbone of our health care system. We require legislation to strengthen and improve these programs, not undermine and gut them.

Please join us in saying NO to the American Health Care Act. It will only make America sicker, and all Americans old and young deserve better.

Some action tips:

  1. Call 202-224-3121 to contact your Senators.
  2. Make your voices heard on social media.  #RejectRepeal, #ProtectOurCare. See #SaveMyCare for Social Media Messaging and Images.
  3. Tell your Senators not to repeal the Affordable Care Act and make America sicker.

Also, we will stay strong in this fight for quality health care, especially for the strength and integrity of Medicare and Medicaid. Please donate today in support of our ongoing advocacy at the state and national level. Thank you!

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.