February 16, 2017
WASHINGTON – In response to the health care blueprint published today by Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) released the following statement:
The House Republican blueprint is not a real replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Instead of fulfilling its claims, this blueprint would put millions of Americans and the nation as a whole in an overall worse position. The ACA is working for 20 million Americans who are relying on it for coverage. Repealing the ACA would impact 10 million more.
Under the guise of affordability, the plan seeks to recreate high-risk insurance pools that previously left Americans with chronic conditions unable to afford high premiums. The plan would also repeal the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and end Medicaid by converting the entitlement to a limited program that caps funding. This would break the over 50-year promise of Medicaid, leaving Americans without reliable and affordable coverage, as well as reduce state funding.
The plan would replace the ACA’s robust financial assistance by limiting tax credits based on age instead of income. Access to these tax credits would be restricted to U.S. citizens and “qualified aliens” under the Republican plan. The ACA provides assistance to all lawfully present persons. While the plan does not provide a definition of the term, limiting tax credits only to persons who are citizens or “qualified aliens” could render many immigrant groups with lawful status ineligible. More than 8 in 10 previously uninsured Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders qualify for financial assistance through the ACA.
The blueprint comes at the heels of a proposed rule released from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that would make it harder for consumers to sign up for and access affordable quality health coverage that they are eligible for under the ACA. The proposed rule would reduce the value of coverage, erect new barriers to enrollment and reduce the time period to enroll. The cumulative effect of the proposal rule will be to undermine the strength of the health insurance Marketplaces while reducing access for consumers.
Today’s blueprint would not adequately replace the same quality and robustness of coverage and financial help that the ACA provides. APIAHF is a member of the Protect Our Care Coalition and opposes repealing the ACA and any changes that seek to fundamentally alter Medicaid. APIAHF calls on communities to contact their members of Congress and ask that they not repeal the ACA or cut Medicaid without a real replacement that protects all those eligible for and currently receiving coverage and financial assistance and maintains consumer and civil rights protections. APIAHF’s infographic shows what is at stake for AAs and NHPIs in repeal.