Thursday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) sent a letter opposing the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to the Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX), the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means; and Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.
“We are deeply concerned about the negative impact this proposal would have on communities already facing discrimination and healthcare disparities, including the LGBTQ community. The announced legislation undermines core provisions of the Affordable Care Act and cuts off tens of millions of Americans from life-saving healthcare coverage,” HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said in the letter. “This flawed proposal, drafted behind closed door without public input, turns a blind eye to the essential health benefits that millions of Americans have come to rely upon.”
As a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), thousands of low-income people living with HIV have been able to obtain health insurance through the Medicaid expansion. This critical coverage ensures that people living with HIV have access to the lifesaving treatments. The AHCA’s drastic changes to Medicaid will likely strip these people, and other vulnerable populations, of essential healthcare coverage.
The tax credit structure embedded in the proposed healthcare act leaves behind thousands of low-income individuals and families who will be priced out of coverage. Systemic discrimination of LGBTQ Americans leaves them with some of the lowest rates of insurance coverage in the nation. The LGBTQ community has benefitted from the ACA’s tax credit structure and the Medicaid Expansion, and the rescission of both of these critical components will have devastating consequences for a community already facing significant healthcare disparities.
Beyond repealing these key provisions of the ACA, the AHCA would also cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which could jeopardize the ability of clinics to deliver preventive health services, including HIV testing and transition-related care. The ACA’s public health and prevention fund, established to expand investments in the nation’s public health infrastructure, would also be repealed. Health centers, like those operated by Planned Parenthood, often offer the only culturally competent healthcare available, especially in rural and isolated areas.
In considering the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010, the House held 79 hearings over the course of a year, heard from 181 witnesses and accepted 121 amendments. The current House leadership hopes to get the repeal and replacement legislation through the House in three weeks. The Senate adopted the Affordable Care Act only after approximately 100 hearings, roundtables, walkthroughs and other meetings, and after 25 consecutive days in continuous session debating the bill.
The full text of the letter can be found here.