The American Public Health Association has released a statement voicing opposition to the House of Representative’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. APHA’s Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin voiced concern over the effects of reductions in patient protections and access to care on vulnerable Americans. The full statement follows below.
Washington, D.C., March 7, 2017 — The American Public Health Association strongly opposes the plan to replace the Affordable Care Act released yesterday in the House of Representatives.
“This proposal would jeopardize the health and lives of many millions of Americans,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. “It would dramatically reverse progress we’ve made in controlling health care costs and assuring quality care, and it would gut patient protections, investments in prevention and access to care for the most vulnerable Americans.”
Among its harmful provisions, the plan would:
• Eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund — By zeroing out investments in evidence-based disease prevention programs, states and communities will lose hundreds of millions of dollars for proven programs that fight obesity, curb tobacco use, provide immunizations and respond to public health threats and outbreaks, among other priorities. The fund also contributes 12 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s budget, which would be lost undercutting public health initiatives across the country.
• End the individual mandate and reduce subsidies — Eliminating the requirement for everyone to purchase health insurance will cause premiums to skyrocket, undermine the insurance market and cause millions to lose health coverage. The plan would also reduce subsidies that help lower- and middle-income families afford the insurance coverage they need.
• Phase out Medicaid expansion and cap Medicaid spending — Capping federal contributions to the Medicaid program will likely force states with already tight budgets to limit eligibility and cut benefits to at-risk Americans.
• Block Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood for one year — Blocking funding would deny people with Medicaid coverage from accessing important health services at Planned Parenthood health centers, including education and counseling for family planning, birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and STD prevention education, testing and treatment.
“American lives are on the line,” said Benjamin. “It is particularly troubling that legislators plan to consider this proposal without a score from the Congressional Budget Office. We urge House members to oppose this plan and instead strengthen our nation’s commitment to improving the health and safety of all Americans.”