Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 217 – 213 to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
House Republicans narrowly passed the bill after finalizing the text the night before the vote and without a review from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The CBO found that the initial legislation introduced by the Republicans in March would cause 24 million Americans to lose health care coverage by 2026, including 7 million who receive health insurance through their employer. Initial CBO estimates also predicted that premiums will be higher in 2018 and 2019, and Medicaid would be cut by $880 billion. In Colorado, 600,000 people could lose health coverage according to the Colorado Health Institute.
But the revised legislation passed last week is even worse because it fails to protect people with preexisting conditions. Eliminating this protection is eliminating a civil right. Each of us knows someone with a preexisting condition and failing to ensure adequate coverage for our neighbors, friends and family is unacceptable and immoral.
Under the new Republican plan, states will be able to opt out of requiring insurance companies to provide Essential Health Benefits, which includes maternity and pediatric services, outpatient care, substance abuse and mental health treatment and prescription drug coverage. This plan puts tens of millions of Americans at risk of losing their health insurance coverage and it discriminates against seniors through higher rates.
By all accounts, Coloradans will suffer if this bill becomes law. This plan takes us backward and is a bad deal for millions of hardworking families who have come to rely on affordable, quality health insurance.
See my live reaction to last week’s vote here.