The American Health Care Act was passed before the Congressional Budget Office could issue its assessment of the impact the bill will have on Americans’ access to health care and the impact on the national budget and the economy. However, we do know that it will gut Medicaid, slashing $849 billion dollars from this vital program, and putting at risk millions of the elderly, the disabled, and children. It strips the protections from the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. And it eliminates the Ten Essential Health Benefits that had guaranteed free preventive care measures such as mammograms and other cancer screenings, brought mental health services on par with other health care, and ensured access to habilitative and rehabilitative health care, among other provisions.
In exchange, the American Health Care Act provides tax breaks and tax shelters to wealthy Americans, allows Americans aged 50-64 to be charged premiums up to five times those of younger individuals regardless of their income or ability to pay, and allows for annual and life-time caps on coverage, which means the sickest Americans, such as people with chronic disease or cancer, will use up their coverage and be faced with the devastating choice of bankruptcy or forgoing necessary treatment.
As people of faith, we believe that access to affordable, comprehensive health care is a right, not a privilege. We call upon members of the Senate to refuse to consider this legislation and allow it to die the death it deserves. Otherwise, millions of Americans will die premature deaths for lack of access to affordable care.