What would AHCA mean for Washington?

What would AHCA mean for Washington?

Washington has fully implemented and reaped the benefits of the ACA, decreasing the uninsured rate by 60%. Now, less than 6% of our residents are uninsured. If we switch to the AHCA, the uninsured rate will be higher than it was before the ACA.

Governor Jay Inslee and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler recently sent a joint letter to the Washington congressional delegation expressing strong concerns about the impact the AHCA would have on Washingtonians. We thought it was worth quoting the opening paragraphs:

Dear Representative McMorris Rodgers:

As the Governor and Insurance Commissioner in Washington State, we are writing to express our very serious concerns about the devastating impact the House Republican Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replace legislation – the American Health Care Act (AHCA) – will have on the people of Washington State. The people of our state will be impacted in the following ways:

  • The working families in our rural communities will be hit hardest, but all of our communities will be affected by the huge decreases in coverage and barriers to care for those with cancer, chronic illnesses and high pharmaceutical costs.
  • Over 700,000 people in our state will be at risk of losing coverage unless we can find $1.3 billion in 2023, increasing to $2 billion in 2028, to continue Medicaid coverage for 600,000 of these people – an unrealistic amount to raise in the current fiscal climate.
  • Our long-term and support services system will lose $90 million immediately – a 6 percent cut.
  • Charity care and bad debt decreased by $1.1 billion due to the ACA and we can expect this to increase, impacting everyone going to a hospital in Washington. The people of our state have entrusted us to improve their well-being, maintain their ability to purchase affordable and meaningful health insurance coverage, and strengthen our state’s economy.

The letter goes on to point out the improvements that the ACA has brought in Washington, the catastrophic impact Medicaid caps would have on Washingtonians, and the destabilizing effect these changes will have on Washington’s individual health insurance market – vividly illustrated by the infographic below. Thank you for your advocacy, Governor and Commissioner!

What’s next in Congress?

The AHCA passed the House Budget Committee on Thursday despite three Republican members voting no, urging a stronger repeal. But more moderate Republican House members, such as one Florida representative, are beginning to express concerns. Even if AHCA passes the House, it’s uncertain what will become of it in the Senate. Republican leadership seeks to pass the bill before its April recess. We’ll see…

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