Since activity around repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act began in earnest a couple of months ago, hospital advocates have been proffering a smart and tempered response: don’t get caught up in the politics of the debate; focus on securing an outcome that maintains people’s coverage and supports hospitals in their mission of care.
The first proposal to be voted on, the American Health Care Act, falls short of that goal. According to this week’s Congressional Budget Office analysis:
- 14 million more people would be uninsured in fiscal year 2018
- 24 million people would lose coverage over the next 10 years
- $880 billion in Medicaid funding would be cut over 10 years
- $300 billion cut from hospitals to help fund ACA coverage expansion would not be restored
Earlier this month, the American Hospital Association and other health care advocates shared these concerns with members of Congress.
“As organizations that take care of every individual who walks through our doors, both due to our mission and our obligations under federal law, we are committed to ensuring health care coverage is available and affordable for all,” the letter states. “…we are deeply concerned that the proposed Medicaid program restructuring will result in both the loss of coverage for current enrollees as well as cuts to a program that provides health care services for our most vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly and disabled.”
Powerful political forces are influencing this debate, and factions on both sides of the aisle have been critical of the proposed bill. That means the legislation likely will be amended, maybe significantly, in order to bring conservative and moderate Republicans together on an approach that will pass muster in the House and Senate.
MHA, working closely with our partners at the American Hospital Association, will continue to fight for the principles that can make a “new” health care act acceptable: broad-based, continuous coverage, high-functioning insurance markets, and a value-driven health care system. These tenets are the foundation of your ability to take care of people, which is why we stand firmly opposed to any proposal that violates them.