"CHA is pleased that the hastily crafted American Health Care Act did not garner enough support from congressional members for it to be approved in the House of Representatives," said Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, CHA president and chief executive officer. House leadership withdrew the bill from the House floor on March 24.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the American Health Care Act, the bill intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, would have increased the number of uninsured in the U.S. by 24 million individuals and cut $880 billion dollars from the Medicaid program over 10 years. Medicaid provides health insurance coverage to the nation's most vulnerable citizens, including low-income elderly and disabled individuals, children, pregnant women and families. In addition to funding Medicaid expansion, the ACA established marketplaces where income-qualified individuals may purchase health insurance with tax credit subsidies.
"We remain concerned about the continued affordability and stability of the individual health insurance market under the ACA," Sr. Carol said, adding she is hopeful Congress will work in a bipartisan way going forward to address those challenges. "Congress has a perfect opportunity to do that now."
The hospital community and the broader provider community was unified in its opposition to the American Health Care Act. CHA believes it would be advantageous for Congress to garner input from patients, providers, insurers and hospitals and other businesses about the appropriate changes needed to shore up the Affordable Care Act and improve the insurance market.
However, House Republican leadership announced on March 28 that they would continue to work on health care reform legislation within their conference to try and reach agreement on repeal and replace legislation. "We promised that we would repeal and replace Obamacare, and that's exactly what we're going to do," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said.
Sr. Carol said, "Maintaining health care coverage is not a problem either party can solve alone at this point, but it is solvable with bipartisan efforts. CHA is anxious to cooperate with President Donald Trump and Congress in working toward a solution that is better for everyone. We need to craft a solution that seeks the common good for all Americans."
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