Absence of the Affordable Care Act
We begin our comments by noting the importance of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for AA and NHPI communities and particularly the importance of its consumer protections for these communities. From our work with AA and & NHPI communities, we understand the role the ACA has played in improving access to health insurance for communities of color across the nation. Since 2010, the uninsured rate has fallen from 15.1 percent to 6.5 percent in 2016 for AAs and from 14.5 percent to 7.7 percent for NHPIs, higher than any other racial group. In addition, the uninsured rate fell from 17.8% to 9.4% for African Americans, 30.9% to 18% for Latinos, and 24.2% to 14.4% for American Indians and Alaska Natives.1 It is our strong belief that all consumers will be best served by maintaining and continuing to implement the ACA, including strong enforcement of consumer protections in regulation and in statute and that HHS and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) can best act to ensure stability in the marketplace by maintaining these standards that have led to such record low uninsured rates and substantially reduced disparities in coverage—one of the aims of the Strategic Plan. As such, we are deeply troubled by the complete absence of the ACA in the Draft Strategic Plan and recommend the plan be revised to incorporate the ACA across numerous objectives and strategies, as detailed below.
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