The Colorado Center on Law and Policy worked hard with its coalition partners to stop the American Health Care Act, so we’re very pleased that House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from consideration today.
As we’ve said over the past few weeks in statements, commentaries and fact sheets, the AHCA was a harmful and ill-conceived piece of legislation that would have caused millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Coloradans to lose their health insurance coverage, while dramatically slashing funds for the federal Medicaid program. If passed, the bill would have particularly hurt seniors, the working poor and those who live in rural parts of Colorado.
But while AHCA would have taken Colorado and our nation’s health system down the wrong direction, work still needs to be done in reinforcing the Affordable Care Act – the comprehensive health care reform package that Republicans and President Trump vowed to repeal and replace.
We recognize there’s been a great deal of frustration about health care costs, rising premiums and limited health providers and insurers in rural areas – all symptoms associated with the ACA. Congress has withheld funding for key components of the act — notably billions of dollars from the ACA’s risk corridor program. Meanwhile the new administration may fail to enforce other important components of the ACA, such as the individual mandate to purchase insurance. Furthermore, several new regulations proposed by the Trump Administration will erode consumer protections and make it harder to enroll in coverage.
When it was clear there weren’t enough votes to get the bill out of the House, Speaker Ryan conceded the failure of the AHCA and declared that the ACA will remain “the law of the land until it’s replaced.” For his part, President Trump said “the best thing we can do, politically speaking, is let ObamaCare explode.”
We agree that the ACA will struggle if lawmakers continue to hamper the act’s operations. But clearly, there’s a better path for members of Congress and their constituents. We encourage members of Congress to put their political differences aside and improve the ACA so that quality health care can be available and affordable for more Americans and Coloradans.
– Bob Mook