FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement attributable to:
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH
President and CEO
America’s Essential Hospitals
WASHINGTON — Today’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the American Health Care Act underscores the urgent need for Congress to rethink its strategy on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This bill would make the country worse off than we were before the ACA. We must move our nation forward, not backward.
The CBO finds that 14 million people would lose coverage almost immediately under the House bill. By 2026, more people would be uninsured than before the ACA was enacted — 52 million, according to the CBO.
Further, the bill would slash federal Medicaid spending by nearly $900 billion over the next decade. These unprecedented cuts would immediately weaken our hospitals’ ability to provide care to all our patients.
Coverage is vital, not only for the health and well-being of patients but also for our hospitals. If coverage declines as CBO predicts, the likely rise in uncompensated care costs would fall hardest on hospitals for vulnerable patients — essential hospitals. These hospitals, which already operate with little or no margin, could not sustain these additional costs. Fewer services and workforce reductions almost certainly would follow in many communities.
The estimated coverage losses in the CBO report are unacceptable. Patients and providers will suffer, and the cost shift will strain state and local government budgets. Given this estimate from CBO — a trusted, bipartisan source — we must halt the repeal process until we can ensure those who have coverage now can keep it.
As Congress responds to the report, we urge them to work with stakeholders to ensure all people have access to care.
# # #
About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading association and champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. Since 1981, America’s Essential Hospitals has initiated, advanced, and preserved programs and policies that help these hospitals ensure access to care. We support members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education.
Our nearly 300 members are vital to their communities, providing primary care through trauma care, disaster response, health professional training, research, public health programs, and other services. They innovate and adapt to lead the broader health care community toward more effective and efficient care.