FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—May 4, 2017
Statement of Michelle Hughes, NC Child Executive Director, on passage of American Health Care Act in U.S. House of Representatives
Despite today’s vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, NC Child remains steadfastly opposed to the American Health Care Act and optimistic that the U.S. Senate will not pass this dangerous bill. Here are three reasons why Senators Burr and Tillis should oppose the AHCA when it arrives in the Senate:
1. By capping Medicaid, the AHCA threatens to undermine children’s access to high quality health care, particularly children with disabilities and special health care needs.
At its core, Medicaid is a children’s program—over half of all Medicaid recipients in North Carolina and nationally are children. Medicaid is also the best insurance program for children with disabilities and other special needs, because federal law requires every state Medicaid program to provide all “medically necessary” services. A capped program would jeopardize this guarantee and put children with disabilities and their families at risk.
2. The AHCA eliminates key consumer protections for children and families.
The AHCA will hurt children and families by allowing states to eliminate protections for consumers with pre-existing conditions and by allowing states to waive bans on annual and lifetime limits on coverage. This leaves children and families dealing with serious medical conditions vulnerable to devastating health and financial consequences. With a history of high-premiums, waiting lists, and weak benefits, high-risk pools are an inadequate solution for this problem.
3. The AHCA will have a wide-ranging impact on the state’s priorities, including education, social services, and dealing with unexpected disasters.
The Medicaid provisions of the AHCA will cut over $6 billion from North Carolina’s budget, requiring the state to raise taxes or cut other priorities from the state budget. How will our state legislators choose what to cut when faced with sick children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, foster children needing homes and wraparound services, and elementary schools working to provide a sound, basic education? What about jobs, the opioid epidemic, and the threat of natural disasters and public health crises?
In the strongest terms possible, we urge Senators Burr and Tillis to oppose the AHCA in the Senate. It is bad for our children, our families, and our state.