[Editor’s Note: This letter was written by a constituent of Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA) in Virginia as a part of an ongoing series of letters about the Republican Party’s “replacement” of the Affordable Care Act. These are well founded arguments you can use with your representative. We are trying to find the full dialogue and will post it when it is available.]
Dear Representative Comstock:
Thank you for your timely and comprehensive response to my concerns regarding the proposed American Health Care Act.
With all due respect, I must take exception to your statement that this proposed ACA reform “is a culmination of years of research, hearings, and input from a wide array of stakeholders including experts in health, physicians, and patients.” The evidence points to quite the opposite. To wit:
- Influential groups representing hospitals and nurses came out against the bill, joining doctors and AARP, to warn that it would lead to a rise in the uninsured.
- The groups, including the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association of the United States and the Children’s Hospital Association, said they could not support the bill “as currently written.”
- The A.M.A has said that it could not support the bill “because of the expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations.” They oppose the plan to replace the sliding, income-based premium tax credits provided under ACA with fixed credits based on age. AMA says that the current system “provides the greatest chance that those of the least means are able to purchase coverage.”
- America’s Health Insurance Plans released a statement warning that the plans to change Medicaid financing, among other things, could harm coverage and care.
- AARP declared its opposition to the bill, saying that the bill would increase health costs for people ages 50 to 64, could lead to cuts in Medicaid coverage of long-term care and would allow insurers to charge older people five times as much as younger ones.
To the long-held Republican commitment to governmental fiscal responsibility, the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation issued estimates this week showing how much revenue the government could lose starting in 2018 under the proposed bill as a result of repealing taxes on drug makers (nearly $25 billion over 10 years), insurers (nearly $145 billion), makers of medical devices (nearly $20 billion), and high-income households (more than $270 billion from taxes on earned income and investment income).
Representative Comstock, this is a reckless move on the part of your Republican colleagues in the House; a poorly conceived and rushed attempt to replace the ACA with a substitute that will make adequate health care unaffordable for many millions of Americans and wreak havoc with the underlying economics of our insurance system. Towing the Republican line rather than doing what’s best for America and for your constituents is not fulfilling your obligation as a Member of Congress. I urge you to vote in opposition to this bill.
Thank you for your attention.