In a joint statement, a nonpartisan coalition of patient and consumer groups wrote that the Congressional Budget Office’s new score of the American Health Care Act indicates the bill is flawed and should be discarded.
The statement from the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the March of Dimes, Lutheran Services in America, the National Health Council, the National MS Society and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease said the CBO score of the ACHA, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 4, “should seal its fate as a flawed bill that needs to be immediately discarded.
“We implore the Senate to start from scratch and come up with a bill that puts patients ahead of politics and improves the health care coverage Americans have come to depend on under current law,” the organizations said in the statement. “We strongly believe the principles collectively endorsed by our coalition provide clear guidance to help lawmakers craft a more effective bill that will ensure everyone has affordable, accessible, and adequate coverage.”
According to the release, affordable coverage should not be jeopardized by a replacement plan and should be maintained at all costs.
The financial burden of the AHCA would primarily impact those with poorer health, patients who are older and those with low income, the associations stated.
The organizations also wrote that the ACHA would potentially reinstate medical underwriting for those with pre-existing conditions and make it possible for employers and insurers to reinstitute annual and lifetime limits on health insurance, which could lead to the loss of coverage and a rise in premiums for Americans with chronic illness and with pre-existing conditions.
The statement also discussed maintaining coverage of essential health benefits.
“Under the GOP’s proposal, cheaper insurance may be an option and a reason for premiums to drop for healthy people, but you will only get what you pay for — less comprehensive care and treatment,” the societies wrote.
More than half of the nation’s population lives in states that would make changes to essential benefits, and health services such as maternity care, mental health and substance abuse benefits, rehabilitative and habilitative services and pediatrics may cost patients thousands of dollars, potentially forcing people to go without them, under the AHCA, according to the associations.
“We urge the Senate to remember the voters they serve will be patients at some point and will hold them accountable if the health insurance they need is not there,” the statement concluded.