For immediate release: Thursday, May 3, 2018
Contact: Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access, 916-870-4782 (cell)
Rachel Linn Gish, Director of Communications, Health Access, 916-532-2128 (cell)
ON ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF ACA REPEAL VOTE IN CONGRESS, CALIFORNIA CONTINUES FIGHT FOR OUR HEALTH AGAINST ADMINISTRATIVE ATTACKS
- On May 4th, 2017, 14 Congressmembers voted to shred patient protections for their constituents, including those with pre-existing conditions
- One year later, Californians continue to hold them accountable for their votes and to call on their Representatives to stop the continued sabotage of our health care system.
- Consumer and health advocates are hosting events around the country, including in California: In ORANGE COUNTY, a press conference will be at 11am in front of the Irvine office of Rep. Mimi Walters.
- California has taken extraordinary steps to shield consumers from the brunt of these federal attacks, but more work remains to be done.
SACRAMENTO, CA—One year ago, on May 4th, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives voted for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, cup and cap Medicaid, leave millions more Americans uninsured, and undo key consumer protections, including for patients with pre-existing conditions. Health and consumer advocates are staging events around the country and in California, including in Orange County, to remember this reckless Congressional action–including by the fourteen California Representatives who voted to take away health care from their own constituents and against the continued attempts to sabotage our health system.
Every analysis of the AHCA, including by the independent Congressional Budget Office, confirmed that it would have left millions more Californians uninsured. Many more would be left in a smaller and sicker insurance pool, facing much higher premiums as a result. The bill would have made catastrophic cuts of over $20 billions of dollars a year to Medi-Cal and California’s health care system, resulting in as many as 209,000 jobs lost.
“While the devastating impacts would have been felt by patients and health providers across the nation, the fact that any California Representative voted for the ACA repeal bill was a particularly shocking betrayal, given the disproportionate damage intended for our state. California took advantage of the ACA the most, and thus had the most to lose,” said Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California, whose organization helped to spear head the #Fight4OurHealth campaign that amplified the national movement to prevent the repeal of the ACA. “The repeal bill didn’t just seek to undo five years of progress under the ACA, but fifty years, through harsh Medicaid caps that would have forced cuts in our state budget of over $30 billion a year.”
“In other states that would have seen massive coverage losses, from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to Colorado, Arizona, and Washington, many Republicans voted against the bill. It was shocking to see all 14 of our California GOP delegation support something so bad for the constituents they claim to represent,” continued Wright.
While the ACA repeal was stopped in the Senate by a mere one vote, Californians are still fighting for our health from those in power who continue to take actions to dismantle important consumer protections. Last year, the repeal of the individual requirement in the tax bill is projected to spike premiums by 10 percent, leaving more Americans unable to afford care.
Congress has continued to attempt to repeal the ACA and cut Medicaid, in the budget and other proposed legislation that continues to be considered to this day. The Trump Administration is also seeking to sabotage our health system through a series of administrative actions such as cutting marketing funding and the open-enrollment period for signing up for coverage.
“In just the last few weeks, the Trump Administration is seeking to promote junk insurance that doesn’t have to abide by ACA consumer protections. This action takes us back to the days when essential benefits such as mental health and maternity care weren’t covered, people were denied for pre-existing conditions, and many faced annual or lifetime limits on coverage.” said Wright. “We are proud that California has taken extraordinary actions to protect its residents and our health system so that consumers would not lose coverage, to prevent premium spikes, and help keep insurers in the market.”
California has taken action through legislation, administrative manuvers, and the federal courts. Last year, after the federal government slashed outreach for open enrollment, Covered California increased it’s own marketing budget. Covered California prevented Californians from feeling the Trump surcharge enacted after he refused to fund important cost-sharing reductions. The Trump Administration continues its push to bring back “junk” insurance that would destabilize the individual and small group markets. California has answered with a number of bills, including SB 910 and SB 1375 by Senator Ed Hernandez, to prevent those plans to be sold here.
“On this anniversary, Californians must not forget the decisions made by their Congressmembers, and remain vigilant against the ongoing assault on our health care.” said Wright.
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