Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the American Health Care Act (ACHA). This is the first step in a multi-step process. The Senate will consider the legislation next and is expected to make significant changes to the bill.
“The American Health Care Act, as passed by the House today, is woefully inadequate for people with cystic fibrosis,” said Preston W. Campbell, M.D., president and chief executive officer of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “The people who would be most severely impacted by this legislation seem to have been forgotten in the health care debate and we implore the Senate to do better for people living with chronic and life-threatening diseases, including people with CF.”
The AHCA would repeal some provisions of the Affordable Care Act and enact the following changes that are extremely concerning for people with cystic fibrosis:
- Allow states to let insurers charge higher prices to people with pre-existing conditions
- Eliminate Medicaid coverage for millions of Americans and alter the program's financing structure in a way that puts coverage of new and innovative treatments at risk
- Allow states to waive the guarantee of essential health benefits, segmenting the market into plans for sick people and plans for healthy people, and likely driving up the cost of plans that provide more robust benefits
- Provide inadequate funds to help people with intensive health care needs get coverage through the individual market
- Open the door for states to bring back high-risk pools, which are an unacceptable and unreliable option for health insurance
- Result in health plans covering a lower share of patients' medical expenses, on average, which means higher out-of-pocket costs for individuals
- Give young people less financial assistance to purchase a plan through the individual insurance market than older individuals, which could leave younger people with CF without enough support to purchase a plan that covers the breadth of their specialty care
- Effectively remove protections against annual and lifetime caps, even for the millions of Americans with employer-sponsored insurance
Since the AHCA was introduced, the Foundation has been outspoken about its opposition to the bill and how it would negatively affect our community's ability to access high-quality, specialized CF care. Most recently, we joined seven other leading patient advocacy groups to issue a statement reinforcing that the latest amendment still failed to protect people with pre-existing conditions.
Learn more about how we have engaged with the current administration and Congress on this topic and visit our advocacy action center to get involved. As this bill moves to the Senate, we will continue our advocacy to ensure that people with CF have access to the care and treatments they need to stay healthy.