As federal lawmakers discuss repeal of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, Mayor Adler is joining with his colleagues across the country today to urge Congress to consider the serious impact that losing healthcare coverage would have on millions of Americans.
Mayor Adler is participating in today’s NATIONAL MAYORS’ DAY OF ACTION, which involves mayors in cities from coast-to-coast hosting meetings and/or events with federal, state and local leaders, small businesses and community groups to stress the critical importance of preserving access to affordable healthcare.
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act will pass on higher premiums to those who have insurance, higher property taxes to pay for the uninsured, and suffering for those who will go without adequate care. I am joining my colleagues all over the country to tell Congress that we can’t afford to get stuck with this bill,” said Mayor Adler.
In the first two years of ACA coverage, the Texas uninsured rate declined 5% from 22.1% in 2013 to 17.1% in 2015, according to the Center for Public Policy Priorities. A repeal of the ACA would mean 168,000 people in Travis County would lose their health insurance – including 113,000 Austin residents who signed up during open enrollment for 2017 – disproportionately among council districts 1-4 where the uninsured rate is over 30%. Statewide, 2.6 million Texans would lose coverage.
Those without coverage would end up in local emergency rooms which would have to provide charity care. The Texas Hospital Association reports that the net impact of ACA repeal on the state’s hospitals would be $165.8 billion. Medicare reductions would add losses of $289.5 billion. Local taxpayers would be expected to reimburse hospitals for unpaid charity care, and premiums are predicted to rise by 20%-25%.
In addition to today’s events, Mayor Adler has also signed onto a bipartisan letter to Congressional leaders from The U.S. Conference of Mayors urging them to keep in mind the protections the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided to innumerable Americans from the catastrophic cost of illness and accidents, including the 1 in 4 Texans with health conditions that would have resulted in denial of coverage on the private market before ACA.
Addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the letter, now with more than [INSERT #] signatories, cites the ACA provisions that enjoy bipartisan support and should be retained:
• Insuring children up to the age of 26;
• Eliminating lifetime and annual limits;
• Assuring eligibility for insurance coverage even with pre-existing conditions;
• Guaranteeing coverage for pregnancy and breast cancer screenings; and,
• Providing coverage for preventive services at no additional cost.
The letter also expresses strong support for the provisions in the ACA which have increased mental health and substance use disorder benefits and provided parity, as well as strong opposition to efforts to convert Medicaid to block grants.
“Mayors have fought for decades to make sure their citizens have access to affordable, quality healthcare, said USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. “And we will continue to fight to make sure that any ‘so-called’ replacement for the Affordable Care Act does not punish people for getting sick, create arbitrary and unreasonable limits on coverage, and also provides coverage for young people through college. American families deserve to be protected by their health insurance, not penalized for using it.”
“More people have health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, but the law still needs work. Repealing the Affordable Care Act because it’s not perfect, though, is like taking your car to the junkyard because the engine needs a tune-up. I urge Congress to listen to mayors all across the country who today are saying this is a law worth fixing,” said Mayor Adler.
“We are also worried about health care for over 120,000 Travis county residents covered by Medicaid today. The latest proposals in the US House would dramatically cut Medicaid-CHIP funds, serving fewer Texans and delivering fewer health care benefits, in a massive cost-shift to state and local governments—and to families with no way to pay,” said Anne Dunkelberg, the Associate Director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities.
“Since the Health Insurance Marketplace opened three years ago, more than 73,000 Travis County residents have enrolled in health coverage through plans like Sendero, our local nonprofit health insurance plan,” said Larry Wallace, Central Health Interim President & CEO. “The Central Health Board of Managers has invested more than $3 million in outreach and enrollment efforts, and to subsidize health insurance for individuals and entire families who couldn’t otherwise afford coverage. If the Marketplace went away, these people – our neighbors – would likely lose their health coverage. About 60,000 of them would be eligible for services provided through Central Health and the healthcare safety net. This could potentially add $100 million a year in costs to our local safety net health care system.” said Larry Wallace, interim President & CEO of Central Health.
During the Conference’s 85th Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. last month where more than 300 mayors gathered, USCM leadership held a policy discussion and press conference specifically on the topic of healthcare urging access for all. See video here.
Follow all the news about the Mayors’ Day of Action with #MayorsStand4All.
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