Seven National Hospital Organizations Write to Congress Opposing Draft Legislation Repealing and Replacing the ACA
March 08, 2017
A group of national organizations representing hospitals and health systems have written to members of the U.S. Congress expressing opposition to the House’s American Health Care Act, which would partially repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
HAP is a partner with the American Hospital Association, which joined the following organizations in signing the letter; America’s Essential Hospitals, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, the Children’s Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems.
The group affirmed their commitment to ensuring health care coverage is available and affordable for all. Currently 21 million Americans have gained coverage under the ACA through the Marketplace and Medicaid expansion. In Pennsylvania, 1.1 million people have benefited to date.
As such, the organization leaders explained that absent a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the impact of the proposal, their collective assessment is that the plan would result in a “substantial reduction in the number of Americans able to buy affordable health insurance or maintain coverage under the Medicaid program.”
When congressional committees are considering legislative proposals, they secure a CBO analysis or “score,” a formal cost estimate that analyzes the likely effects of proposed legislation on the federal budget. The analysis ensures that members have information about the budgetary consequences of enacting that legislation. The fact that the House committees which are considering the American Health Care Act are advancing the legislation without a CBO “score” raises concerns about fast-tracking the plan without all the important information.
The group also expressed concern that structural changes to Medicaid financing will result in both the loss of coverage for current enrollees and cuts to the program, which provides health care services for the most vulnerable populations.
Finally, the American Health Care Act proposal would retain the bulk of hospital cuts included in the ACA, while reducing the coverage hospitals were relying upon to support those payment reductions.
In Pennsylvania, hospitals are shouldering $16.5 billion in cuts to help provide the federal budget dollars needed to fund health insurance for more people. To date, Pennsylvania hospitals have sustained $1.6 billion in these “cuts for coverage.” Another $14.9 billion are scheduled through 2026.
HAP President and CEO Andy Carter, has been in Washington D.C. this week meeting with members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation. Carter, who issued a media statement yesterday, is delivering a message similar to the one outlined in the hospital organizations’ letter, and highlighting specific concerns for Pennsylvania based on the current legislative proposal.
For additional information, contact Laura Stevens Kent, HAP’s vice president, federal legislative advocacy.