FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement attributable to:
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH
President and CEO
America’s Essential Hospitals
WASHINGTON — Senate leaders today have put ideology ahead of lives with a plan that puts health and home at risk for millions of working Americans and that would badly weaken essential services for everyone in communities across the country.
Today’s Senate bill makes few material improvements to the deeply damaging House legislation, and might be worse overall. For the hospitals that protect millions of Americans and their communities — our essential hospitals — this bill might even accelerate decisions by some to reduce services or close their doors.
This could leave many people without local sources of lifesaving services, such as trauma, burn, and neonatal intensive care. It would kill jobs — more than 1.5 million nationally by some estimates, including tens of thousands in states as diverse as Maine, West Virginia, Arizona, and Alaska. It would undermine progress toward defeating national health threats, such as the opioid epidemic and others.
Particularly troubling is the opaque process senators have followed to reach this point. Legislation of this scope and with such potential for harm demands a fair and public hearing, but Senate leaders so far have rejected that. This is a slap in the face to the democratic process and bad policymaking for the country.
America’s Essential Hospitals stands by two guiding principles: affordable health care coverage for all Americans and sufficient resources for essential hospitals to meet their vital community mission. The Senate plan violates both principles and will make our nation sicker, less productive, and less secure.
We oppose this plan and appeal to senators to consider the needs of all Americans and work with us and other stakeholders — in an open and transparent process — to fix what’s wrong with our health care system while preserving progress made toward coverage and stability for all.
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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 more than 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.