A group of 15 non-partisan patient and consumer organizations say the Senate Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed this week “takes yet another step towards undermining the stability of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) insurance markets.”

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network; American Diabetes Association; American Heart Association; American Lung association; Arthritis Foundation; Consumers Union; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; Epilepsy Foundation; Family Voices; Futures Without Violence; Lutheran Services in America; March of Dimes; National Health Council; National MS Society and National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) issued a joint statement that criticizes the Act.

Puts affordable care "out of reach"

“The repeal of the individual insurance mandate destabilizes an essential pillar of the ACA by removing incentives for young and healthy people to purchase insurance. Having young and healthy people as part of the insurance pool helps keep premiums manageable for everyone. This move is the latest in a string of actions by both Congress and the administration that puts affordable, adequate and accessible care for patients and families further out of reach.”

A letter issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) earlier this week estimated that repealing the mandate will result in 13 million more uninsured Americans and will increase premiums by an additional 10 percent each year. The CBO also clarified that passage of the bipartisan short-term stabilization legislation crafted by Senators Alexander and Murray would do little to mitigate the dramatic drop in coverage or increase in cost.

“While our groups continue to support the policies included in the Alexander-Murray bill, that proposal cannot compensate for the harm to patients and families resulting from the repeal of the individual mandate.

No workable alternative

“The patient and consumer community joins members of the provider and issuer communities in raising the alarm about the consequences of the repeal of the individual mandate without a workable alternative, which include higher premiums and fewer Americans with coverage.

“We are deeply disappointed by the Senate’s actions and their impact on the health and well being of millions of patients across the United States. We urge the House and Senate to reconsider this approach during their conference negotiations and stand ready to work with Congress to ensure that any healthcare policies included in the tax package reflect the real and urgent needs of Americans, particularly those with costly serious and chronic health conditions.”