The American Public Health Association (APHA) says independent, nonpartisan analysis from the Congressional Budget Office released this week shows that 14 million Americans next year and 24 million by 2026 will lose health insurance under the American Health Care Act, the measure intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and most people will pay higher premiums in the short-term — an increase of 15-20 percent for policyholders.
"This proposal is more of a health policy disaster than it appeared to be when unveiled last week," said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. "Coverage matters when it comes to preventing disease and ensuring health and well-being. Unfortunately, this bill as written will result in more people losing coverage they desperately need than gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act. We know that the absence of health insurance translates into premature death for many.
"The proposal would eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which supports core public health activities in communities across the country. This CBO assessment fails to take into account that these dollars will have to be replaced through the regular appropriations process.
"President Trump has promised that any effort to replace the Affordable Care Act will ‘cover everybody.’ Not only would this proposal break that promise, but it would also increase premiums in the short-term for most seeking coverage, with the greatest burden on those least able to afford it. Quite literally, it takes from the poor and gives to the rich.
"The basic test of any health reform effort should be that it enhances the health of the population. Unfortunately, the American Health Care Act as proposed fails this test.
"We urge Congress to slow this train down and work for meaningful reforms to improve the Affordable Care Act. The goal should be to improve Americans’ health and well-being, not cut lives short."