Another Poor Score

  

Today’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report confirms what we already suspected: despite last minute changes made prior to a misguided and party-line House vote, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) seriously threatens health coverage affordability, access, and care delivery, and would cause roughly 14 million individuals to lose coverage by 2018, and 23 million to lose coverage by 2026.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) remains opposed to the AHCA and urges the Senate to abandon the bill advanced by the House in favor of a more transparent process that truly aims to expand access to affordable quality care.

Photo: Carlos Barria, Reuters
Photo: Carlos Barria, Reuters

According to the report, the AHCA would allow for various waivers that would undermine protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and undercut access to essential health benefits for roughly one-sixth of the population. Taken together, these waivers would cause premiums to “vary significantly according to health status and the types of benefits provided, and less healthy people would face extremely high premiums,” according to the CBO. “Over time, it would become more difficult for less healthy people (including people with pre-existing medical conditions) in [states that make use of the waivers] to purchase insurance because their premiums would continue to increase rapidly.”

The bill also continues to pose a serious threat to those Americans who rely on Medicaid, a majority of whom are children. Rolling back state expansion of Medicaid would effectively cut off coverage for millions of low-income Americans and further upend the health care landscape.

Though today’s score was marginally better than the first assessment released in March, the negative consequences for those who need care most remain extreme. In particular, the CBO noted that “out-of-pocket spending on maternity care and mental health and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year for” those not covered by group health insurance plans.

The ANA encourages the Senate to draft a comprehensive health care plan that protects Americans from being denied insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions and provides access to affordable health insurance coverage plans that offer a minimum standard of benefits. These include preventative services and screenings, inpatient and outpatient services, prescription drug coverage, mental health, maternity services, and chronic disease management.

Congress just proved why we need you in Washington

  

Following yesterday’s AHCA vote, ANA board member Jesse Kennedy joins us as a guest blogger to explain why it’s more important than ever to take part in this year’s Hill Day. Please click here to learn more and share with others who might be interested.

Shameful. By a thin margin, the House of Representatives just voted today to pass the American Health Care Act.

Despite an avalanche of warnings, the House just moved to undo years of hard work by nurses like you to provide a better health care system for our patients.

No matter how leaders try to spin today’s vote, its effects are clear, and dangerous: Ending protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Eliminating essential health benefits. Kicking 24 million people off of their coverage.

The nursing community will not allow out-of-touch politicians to threaten the lives of our patients. ANA advocates are heading to Capitol Hill on Thursday, June 8 – one month from now – to meet face-to-face with members of Congress and their staffers – can you join us?

Register for ANA’s Hill Day in D.C. on June 8 so we can make sure to save you a spot.

Not sure if you can join? Click here and we’ll send you a reminder before the final deadline.

I don’t know who exactly was in the room when leaders in the House of Representatives decided to ram their devastating repeal bill forward, but I can tell you who wasn’t in the room: Health care professionals like you and me.

I know this because no one who has direct experience with health care in America would ever support the repeal bill that the House just passed. It would put our patients in danger and interfere with our ability to deliver quality care.

Fortunately, we have an opportunity to make our voices heard in the halls of Congress – and use our power and our passion to stop disastrous measures like this from ever becoming the law of the land.

I hope you’ll be able to join me on June 8 to raise your voice. Register now for ANA Hill Day 2017.

This fight does not end here. Thank you for continuing to speak out and advocate for all of our patients.

A Profoundly Disappointing Vote

  

The American Nurses Association is strongly opposed to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and is very disappointed with the passage of this legislation by the House of Representatives.

Representing the interests of more than 3.6 million registered nurses, the ANA has expressed serious concerns throughout the negotiation process about the negative impact the AHCA will have on the 24 million people who stand to lose insurance coverage if it becomes law, as well as the lack of transparency that has surrounded the bill.

Getty Images
Getty Images

“Over the past several weeks, nurses from across the country expressed their strong disapproval for this bill, which would have a great impact on the health of the nation,” said ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Today, Congress not only ignored the voice of the nation’s most honest and ethical profession and largest group of health care professionals. It also ignored the almost 15 million people in the United States with pre-existing conditions who will now have no protection from insurer discrimination.”

As currently written, the AHCA would cut Medicaid funding by $880 billion over 10 years, dramatically increase premiums for senior citizens, restrict millions of women from access to health care, weaken the sustainability of Medicare, and repeal income-based subsidies that have made it possible for millions of families to buy health insurance.

In addition, states would have the option to waive essential health benefit protections that prevent insurance companies from charging Americans with pre-existing conditions significantly more for coverage. Even worse, insurers could decline coverage for substance abuse treatment, maternity care, and preventive services. Last minute attempts to stabilize the bill’s risk pools for the more than 15 million Americans with pre-existing conditions were wholly inadequate and will leave our nation’s sickest vulnerable.

As this legislation moves to the U.S. Senate, the ANA urges Senators to allow for thoughtful, public feedback in the face of reforms that would have such a far-reaching and personal impact across the nation.

“ANA asks the Senate to not deny peoples’ right to health care and quality of life by standing with the American people in opposing AHCA in its current form. ANA will continue to work with the Senate to help improve health care delivery, coverage, and affordability for all Americans,” Cipriano added.

To find out how your representative voted, click here.