House Vote to Strip Health Coverage is Devastating for 24 Million People
The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) denounced House passage of the American Health Care Act, a bill that would leave 24 million people without health coverage, strip away protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, eliminate the Medicaid expansion, and cut Medicaid by $850 billion, forever ending the program as we know it.
Despite strong opposition from religious organizations and denominational offices from across faith traditions, including FCNL, House leaders pursued in forcing through a rushed and extremely narrow vote that will inflict dramatic damage on millions of Americans.
Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of FCNL issued the following statement:
“This vote demonstrated why the American public is so frustrated with Congress. The AHCA inflicts the most damage on children, on individuals who are sick, people with disabilities, seniors, and low-income families struggling just to get by. Rushing through this legislation that did not get adequately vetted before the vote does not serve the American public. The AHCA contradicts the very values of caring for others and serving “the least of these” reiterated time and again in Jesus' teachings.
“Medicaid serves as a lifeline for tens of millions of Americans. The AHCA eliminates the Medicaid expansion, which has enabled 11 million low-income individuals to access quality, affordable health care, many for the first time. The AHCA further dismantles the entire Medicaid program by capping it, preventing the program from responding to health outbreaks, epidemics such as the opioid epidemic, and other spikes in need. States will be left to cover these costs or to eliminate health services for people in their state, leaving millions without access to needed health services.
“The additional $8 billion for high-risk pools is an impotent token that will do little in remedying the stripping away of protections for people with pre-existing conditions. They will suffer skyrocketing premiums, lifetime and annual caps on benefits, and many will find themselves without access to any coverage at all. It is unconscionable that members of Congress have chosen to support such a cruel and destructive piece of legislation.
“The Affordable Care Act, which has helped millions of people gain health care, needs changes, but this bill does nothing but leave millions at risk of bankruptcy, untreated illness and injury, and even death.
“I urge the Senate to reject this immoral and unjust legislation and instead call upon every senator to protect Medicaid, maintain the Medicaid expansion and protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and work in a responsible and deliberate manner to truly address the real problems within America's health care system.”