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Divided by Fate and Fortune
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 217-213 last Thursday. The House passed it before the Congressional Budget Office had a chance to score the bill, meaning that legislators voted before they had a full estimate of the AHCA’s effects. Some members admitted that they hadn’t read the whole bill before voting for its passage. Among them was Rep. Chris Collins of New York, who, when asked by a reporter if he knew that New York would lose $3 billion dollars in federal funds and that the bill would affect almost 20,000 of his own constituents, said, “Explain that to me.”
The AHCA is a devastating piece of legislation from a health care policy perspective that will cut Medicaid spending, raise premiums for older Americans, and allow insurance companies to charge higher prices for those with preexisting conditions. For a summary of the effects of the bill read here.
Republican legislators have been calling for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama’s signature health care legislation, since its inception. This vote is being touted as a fulfillment of that promise to repeal the ACA. But there has been so much confusion about the ACA that many people who benefited from its provisions called for its repeal solely due to partisan politics. While the ACA was far from perfect, it did ensure that millions of previously uninsured people could gain access to healthcare. This new legislation will result in millions of people losing health insurance and create worse health outcomes for many Americans. For a side by side comparison between the Affordable Care Act and the AHCA click here.
It is vital that we hold our legislators accountable for their decisions. Those that voted against this bill should be thanked for trying to keep harmful legislation from affecting the American people, and those that voted for it should know how their constituents are affected by these policies. To see how your representative voted, click here.