In the early hours of the morning, the U.S. Senate today approved a budget resolution that sets in motion the process that could repeal the Affordable Care Act. The measure, which passed by a vote of 51-48, creates a path for consideration of repeal legislation as soon as next month.

“We are deeply troubled that the Senate hastily approved the budget resolution that could repeal the Affordable Care Act with no replacement plan in place,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA, in a news release. “Where is the plan to ensure access to quality, affordable health insurance for those who will lose it? This dangerous decision will have devastating effects on families in communities across the country.”

More than 20 million Americans have gained insurance under the ACA. Millions of low-income families have received access to care through expansion of the Medicaid program. And many millions more have gained access to preventive health services at no cost under the law. All is at risk.

“Republicans are rushing through a process that could cause millions to lose their insurance, drive up premium prices for millions more, and send the health care industry into a tailspin, wreaking havoc on one-sixth of the American economy,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA in a statement. “It is irresponsible. It is dangerous. And people in America deserve better.”

The American Diabetes Association expressed strong disappointment in a statement: “Congress cannot take people with diabetes back to a time when they could be routinely denied health insurance or forced to pay exorbitant premiums simply because they have diabetes; when treatment for preexisting conditions like diabetes could be excluded from coverage; and when people could find their insurance coverage was no longer available just when they needed it most.”

Repeal of the ACA would also gut the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a critical piece of the health law that supports public health efforts to reduce the leading causes of death and disability.

“The Prevention and Public Health Fund is a critical investment in evidence-based strategies that reduce disease and save lives,” said Benjamin. “For the first time, our nation’s children are facing a shorter life expectancy than their parents. This is not the time to scale back prevention efforts.”

“The fund is also responsible for 12 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s budget. Loss of this funding would devastate our nation’s leading health agency at a time when we face a growing epidemic of chronic disease, among other threats. Such a loss would be unconscionable.”

The House is expected to take up the resolution Friday.

To urge your representative to reject the budget resolution and protect the Affordable Care Act, take action here.