Statement of Robert Restuccia, executive director of Community Catalyst, on Senate passage of “The Restoring Americans Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act”
“Last night, the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate voted to strip millions of Americans of access to affordable health care coverage, a move that could also have widespread and disastrous implications on the health care sector, state budgets and the U.S. economy.
“By a vote of 52 to 48, the Senate passed “The Restoring Americans Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act,” an oxymoronic name for a bill that undermines the freedom of Americans to seek and receive affordable health coverage. The bill repeals several critical provisions in the Affordable Care Act such as tax credits to help individuals and families purchase health insurance and federal funding to states to provide health care coverage for low-income Americans. Under the Senate-approved bill, more than 8 million Americans would lose tax credits, approximately 8.5 million more would lose coverage options because of the end of their state’s Medicaid expansion, and roughly 5.5 million who would be eligible for coverage if their state expanded coverage will remain in the coverage gap.
“The ACA is here to stay, and voters think Congress has wasted enough time, energy and taxpayer money on continued efforts to repeal the law. It’s time that Congress focus its efforts on things that really matter to Americans like lowering everyone’s health care costs by addressing rising out-of-pocket costs, high deductibles and sky-rocketing prescription drug prices.
“Since passage of the ACA, 16 million Americans have gained access to quality, affordable health care and the health security and peace of mind that having coverage provides. The Senate vote turns back the clock to a time when people like Julie Adams, a breast cancer survivor from Nashville, Tennessee, couldn’t afford to go to the doctor. Thanks to the ACA tax credits, Julie’s cancer was diagnosed early and successfully treated. Julie wouldn’t have been able to afford the care she needed without this coverage. Affordable health insurance through the Affordable Care Act saved her life.
“Americans want to move forward by improving the ACA, not backwards by taking life-saving health care away from people. Yesterday’s vote sends exactly the wrong message.”
About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Read our blog at http://blog.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @HealthPolicyHub.