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Make Your Voice Heard Now

By Rick Pollack
April 28, 2017

Congress returned this week from its spring break—and so did the American Health Care Act. The latest version of the AHCA is being changed to include an amendment authored by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) and endorsed by the conservative House Freedom Caucus. This version of the AHCA continues to put health coverage in jeopardy for many Americans. Our top concern is what this change could mean for older and sicker patients, including those with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer patients and those with chronic conditions. More specifically, the changes included put consumer protections at greater risk by allowing states to waive the essential health benefit standards, which could leave patients without access to critical health services and increase out-of-pocket spending. This could allow plans to set premium prices based on individual risk for some consumers, which could significantly raise costs for those with pre-existing conditions. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office has not yet scored the amendment. However, CBO previously projected that the AHCA would result in 24 million fewer people covered in 2026. It is unlikely this amendment would improve these coverage estimates. The bottom line is the amendment proposed this week would dramatically worsen the bill. For these reasons, along with our previously stated concerns about the AHCA, we remain opposed to it. You stood up to oppose the AHCA before, with successful results. We need you to once again urge your Representatives not to support this bill. Remind them that America’s hospitals and health systems are vital to our country’s health care safety net. We provide access to care for those who need it, and ensure that the most vulnerable are not left behind. We urge Congress to continue to work with stakeholders on a solution that provides meaningful coverage. At the AHA’s 2017 Annual Member Meeting, you’ll have the chance to learn more about developments in Washington, and to meet and interact with leaders in health care and influential decision-makers in politics and policy. It all starts May 7 in the nation’s capital. I hope to see you there.

Topics: Access and Coverage, Advocacy and Public Policy
Tags: Coverage, advocacy, access

Richard J. (Rick) Pollack is the President and CEO of the American Hospital Association.



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