Today, the United States House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would impact the health care coverage of millions of Americans, including people living with cystic fibrosis.
“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 legislation passed by the House would:
- 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
“The CF community has come so far in their fight against this deadly disease, and it's absolutely critical that this progress is not jeopardized by eliminating protections for people living with chronic diseases or by making adequate health coverage unaffordable for people who need specialized care to live longer, healthier lives.
“While, the CF Foundation is deeply disappointed in the actions of the House of Representatives, we recognize the effort to protect coverage for people living with CF is far from over. We will continue our dialogue with Congress to find solutions that provide all Americans with high-quality, affordable care regardless of an individual's income, employment status, health status, or geographic location,” said Campbell.
From the very beginning of the process, the CF Foundation has been outspoken about its opposition to this bill because of the impact it would have on our community's ability to access high-quality, specialized care. Along with the CF community, the Foundation will continue to advocate for adequate, affordable insurance.