LULAC Deeply Concerned with Legislation Repealing the Affordable Care Act
May 4, 2017
Washington, D.C. - Today, on a largely party-line vote, Congressional leaders passed an updated version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican health care alternative that would repeal the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA) signed into law by President Obama in 2010. Congressional Republicans were able to garner enough votes after making significant changes to the legislation that appeased Tea Party members of the House Freedom Caucus.
“The Latino community made historic insurance coverage gains under the Affordable Care Act, and wiping out those gains through this legislation is unacceptable,” said LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. “Although aspects of the Affordable Care Act need improvement, the AHCA repeal bill is not the answer, and rolls back the progress we have made to expand health insurance coverage to more Americans, particularly for people with pre-existing conditions.”
The House Freedom Caucus, composed of some of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives, helped push the bill across the finish line after Congressional Republican leadership agreed to make changes to the AHCA that allows states to receive federal waivers exempting them from key provisions of the Affordable Care Act. These waivers make it easier for states to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and drop key health services like maternity and pediatric care which are currently required as part of ACA's essential benefits package provisions.
“Our community needs better coverage, more financial assistance for low-income families, strong protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and a focus–not on access–but on coverage for all Americans," said Rocha. “Any bill that undermines the gains in coverage made under the Affordable Care Act or causes additional premium hikes on vulnerable individuals negates the significant progress made by the ACA in reducing the uninsured rate. LULAC will continue its advocacy efforts with Members of Congress and call for improving the ACA to ensure that Latinos are not left without health coverage that is critical to living healthy and productive lives."
Since the passage of the ACA, approximately 20 million people have gained health care coverage, including over 6 million Latinos. According to a previous estimate by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the AHCA would result in an estimated 14 million people losing coverage and a 15-20 percent rise in insurance premiums. In addition, the report claimed that the bill would reduce the deficit by $337 billion over the next decade, with the bulk of those savings due to decreased financial assistance for low-income families who need help paying for insurance coverage.
Although the legislation was updated, the House of Representatives voted without reviewing the new score report by the Congressional Budget Office. The bill now moves to the Senate.
"Passing a law that leaves 14 million people without coverage and saddling others with higher premiums is a step backwards," said Rocha. "It is completely irresponsible to give $285 billion in tax breaks to the top 1 percent, while increasing costs for elderly low-income Americans who rely on subsidies and Medicaid the most. We expect that the Senate will review all of the facts regarding the implications of this bill before rushing to pass a bill that negatively impacts the health care of millions of Americans.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.