Email #107, Subject: “we cannot support The American Health Care Act”

Yesterday on your live Facebook video, you said that you intend to vote for the American Health Care Act today. That sincerely surprises me. The AHCA has a 30% approval rating. That’s even lower than the ACA’s 40%. More Americans will lose their health care under the replacement bill than if the ACA were repealed and not replaced. The GOP has somehow made a plan that is not only less popular and effective than Obamacare, but less effective than nothing at all.

I see on your Facebook page that you recently met “with physicians, administrators, and hospital staff today at Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg” and had a “great discussion.” Although you did not include any of the content, based on what national physician, nurse, hospital, and patient associations have said about the AHCA, it’s not hard to guess.

The American Hospital Association says: “we cannot support The American Health Care Act in its current form.”

The American Academy of Family Physicians says: “The AHCA, in our opinion, chooses to focus on “eliminating” policies and not on addressing the real-life economic challenges people have with health care.”

The American Association of Retired People says: “AARP opposes this legislation, as introduced, that would weaken Medicare, leaving the door open to a voucher program that shifts costs and risks to seniors.”

The American Medical Association says: “the AHCA would result in millions of Americans losing coverage and benefits. By replacing income-based premium subsidies with age-based tax credits, the AHCA will also make coverage more expensive – if not out of reach – for poor and sick Americans.”

The American Nurses Association says: “The American Health Care Act threatens health care affordability, access, and delivery for individuals across the nation. In its current form, the bill changes Medicaid to a per capita cap funding model, eliminates the Prevention and Public Health Fund, restricts millions of women from access to critical health services, and repeals income based subsidies that millions of people rely on. These changes in no way will improve care for the American people.”

The Federation of American Hospitals says: “We are very concerned that the draft legislative proposal being considered by the House committees could lead to tremendous instability for those seeking affordable coverage. Furthermore, we are deeply concerned that the proposed Medicaid program restructuring will result in both the loss of coverage for current enrollees as well as cuts to a program that provides health care services for our most vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly and disabled. Additionally, maintaining deep provider reductions while dramatically reducing coverage will reduce our ability to provide essential care to those newly uninsured and those without adequate insurance.”

That’s just the start of the list. As you must know, another dozen patient-focused organizations have written to Congress opposing the supposedly patient-focused AHCA. Any one of these letters would be reason for concern. Their accumulative weight is overwhelming.

The American Health Care Act is already a greater failure than Obamacare. If passed today, it will harm America, ending insurance for millions. Those who vote for it, will harm their reelections, ending their political careers in November 2018.

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Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University where he teaches creative writing, contemporary fiction, and comics. He has published two novels, Pretend I'm Not Here (HarperCollins 2002) and School For Tricksters (Southern Methodist University 2011), and two nonfictions, On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa University 2015) and Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury forthcoming 2017).

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