Independent, nonpartisan analysis from the Congressional Budget Office released Monday shows that 14 million Americans will lose health insurance next year under the American Health Care Act, the measure intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. By 2026, 24 million will lose coverage. Monthly premiums for policyholders will increase in the short-term as well by 15-20 percent.
“This proposal is more of a health policy disaster than it appeared to be when unveiled last week,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA, in a news release. “Coverage matters when it comes to preventing disease and ensuring health and well-being. Unfortunately, this bill as written will result in more people losing coverage they desperately need than gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act. We know that the absence of health insurance translates into premature death for many.”
The American Medical Association called the outcome “unacceptable.”
“While the Affordable Care Act was an imperfect law, it was a significant improvement on the status quo at the time, and the AMA believes we need continued progress to expand coverage for the uninsured,” said AMA President Andrew Gurman, MD, in a statement. “Unfortunately, the current proposal – as the CBO analysis shows – would result in the most vulnerable population losing their coverage.”
The American College of Preventive Medicine said that for any new legislation to build upon the progress made under the ACA, it must retain health insurance for those currently insured and continue the Medicaid expansion initiative to ensure a viable healthcare safety net, among other provisions.
Benjamin noted that the proposal would eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which supports core public health activities in communities across the country, including providing 12 percent of the budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This CBO assessment fails to take into account that these dollars will have to be replaced through the regular appropriations process,” he said.
“The basic test of any health reform effort should be that it enhances the health of the population. Unfortunately, the American Health Care Act as proposed fails this test.
“We urge Congress to slow this train down and work for meaningful reforms to improve the Affordable Care Act. The goal should be to improve Americans’ health and well-being, not cut lives short.”