Rep. O’Halleran: Cuts in Health Care Bill will “devastate rural communities”
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Tom O’Halleran expressed concern over the impact of the Senate’s health care bill, released this morning, on veterans, elderly and disabled Arizonans, and Native American and Arizona families.
“The proposed cuts to Medicaid in this bill are going to devastate rural communities in Arizona and disproportionately impact those who can afford it least,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “This legislation, like the American Health Care Act, does little to address the problems our families are facing and will actually harm people who desperately need access to affordable health coverage.”
The health care bill rolls back Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, limiting the amount that the federal government pays for the program and requiring states, counties, and communities across the country to make up the funding gap or cut coverage.
In Arizona – which opted to expand Medicaid under the ACA in 2013 – the nearly 2 million people covered under the Medicaid program could face a decrease in coverage under the Republican health care plan. Additionally, capping federal Medicaid spending will harm rural hospitals and health centers that offer care to poorer communities and areas with fewer health coverage options.
Included in the Republican health care plan is a $75 billion reduction in the Medicare Trust Fund, cuts to Essential Health Benefits and protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and an age tax that forces elderly Americans to pay premiums that are five times higher than those younger than 50 years old.
“Our health care system is in dire need of repair. If we want to fix it and ensure every American, regardless of their age, ability, or condition, has access to necessary care, we must have a bipartisan, transparent process that includes input from the American people and their health care providers,” continued O’Halleran. “We must work together to improve health care and bring down costs.”
An evaluation of the American Health Care Act, passed by the House last month, showed the legislation would leave 23 million without insurance over the next 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office has yet to provide a similar analysis of the Senate’s health care plan. Health care leaders, such as the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Physicians, have denounced the American Health Care.
This week, Rep. O’Halleran sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requesting an analysis of the impact of the Senate’s bill on veterans, older Americans, and tribal communities. The letter can be read here.