NCLEJ’s Statement on the House Republican Plan to Repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Millions of Americans Will Lose Health Coverage
The Republican House ACA replacement bill, the American Health Care Act, will result in millions losing health care coverage and jeopardize the lives and health of the estimated 20 million people who have gained health insurance coverage under the ACA (also known as “Obamacare”). House Republican leaders are now trying to rush this bill through Congress before there is an opportunity for careful review to thwart meaningful opposition by the American people.
The bill is a direct assault on low-income people – it rolls back Medicaid expansion, ending coverage for tens of millions of low-income people. Drastic restructuring of Medicaid funding, including capping the amount of money each state gets to help pay for health care coverage for the poor, will slash federal funding to the states. As a result, states will be forced to cut benefits, decrease enrollment and eligibility, and reduce quality of care.
Lost Medicaid coverage and services will imperil the health of our nation’s most vulnerable populations: low-income children, pregnant women, seniors, immigrants, and people with disabilities. The impact will be even more acutely felt in low-income communities of color where access to quality health care and the means to pay for that care is already far below that of the rest of America.
Beyond Medicaid cuts, the Republican bill would drastically eviscerate the subsidies for those who buy insurance on the Health Exchanges, in ways that will hurt the least well-off. It eliminates need-based subsidies for out-of-pocket healthcare costs and changes the premium tax credit system to effectively reduce subsidies for millions, making health care coverage unaffordable for low-income working families and others, while favoring those with higher incomes.
The bill further allows premiums to rise up to five times for individuals between ages 50 and 64, making care too expensive for older adults as well. It also forces individuals who have a lapse in coverage to pay an unaffordable surcharge to insurers in order to regain coverage, creating even more of a barrier for low-income people to purchase insurance.
While imposing draconian reductions on health care availability for low-income and working-class families, the Republican bill offers massive tax cuts to our nation’s well-off. Families with incomes above $250,000 will enjoy two separate tax cuts. The richest of Americans receive a tax cut of more than $200,000 per year. Altogether it is estimated that the tax cuts alone will cost America close to $350 billion over ten years while closing the door to affordable health care for tens of millions.
Marc Cohan, NCLEJ Executive Director, affirms that, “Health care is a fundamental human right. This Republican bill, if adopted, will deny this basic right to millions and be a catastrophic retreat from the progress that we have made in extending health care to those for whom it had been out of reach. The health and lives of millions are at stake. NCLEJ will continue to fight for health care for all.”
Please join NCLEJ in opposing this bill. Make your voice clear in opposition. Demand affordable and accessible health care for all!