Letter – Be Careful When Replacing Obamacare

Published Sunday, March 19, 2017

For seven years, Republicans in Congress have spent their energy trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and used every opportunity to try to undermine the health law. They promised that they would replace the ACA with a plan that would cover more people, lower costs for consumers, and protect vulnerable populations--without ever offering any details about how they would do that. The bill House Republicans have introduced, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), would eliminate coverage for millions of people covered through the ACA, increase costs for all consumers, and apply caps on the Medicaid program, meaning states will need to ration care for their residents.

Members of Congress need to know that any replacement proposal should First, Do No Harm to the American public. The bill Republicans are trying to jam through Congress does not meet this fundamental test. The AHCA would harm millions of Americans. It gives wealthy Americans, insurance companies, drug companies, and other corporations tax breaks they don't need. These tax cuts are paid for on the backs of poor and middle class Americans by dramatically scaling back the subsidies that low- and moderate-income families use to purchase affordable health care as well as by changing the financing and coverage structure of the Medicaid program.1 The changes to Medicaid financing would not only end Medicaid expansion but also jeopardize states' long-term financing of the program and their ability to provide coverage to other populations who depend on the program--for example, children, the elderly, and the disabled.

Americans deserve an open and honest debate on a bill that will cause millions of people to lose health insurance coverage.  House Republicans shared a draft of their bill with only 40 hours for the public or even other Members of Congress (MoCs) to review. Supporters of the bill want to get it through the House before they head home for the next Recess (April 8-23). They do not want to face you at town halls and other events in their districts and have to answer questions about their plans for to replace the ACA.

Call Congressman Ken Buck (202-225-4676) and tell him to vote NO on the American Health Care Act. Tell him you oppose ACA repeal without a transparent, thoughtful process that results in a plan that preserves the coverage gains and quality of care under the ACA. First, Do No Harm.

Michael Dubrovich, Parker