The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) submits this written testimony for the record for the March 8, 2017 markup of the “American Health Care Act” before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce entitled “Markup of Committee Print, Budget Reconciliation Legislative Recommendations and H. Res 154.” APIAHF is a national health justice organization that influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of the over 20 million Asian Americans and nearly 1 million Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs) in the United States. For over 30 years, APIAHF has worked at the federal, state, and local levels to advance sensible policies that reduce health disparities and promote health equity.
Millions of Americans, including AAs and NHPIs, who rely on coverage under the ACA will be worse off under the America Health Care Act (AHCA). Under the guise of flexibility, this plan would end Medicaid as we know it by phasing in per-capita caps. Under the guise of access, the bill would reduce the financial support that is currently allowing millions of low- and moderate-income Americans to afford their monthly premiums. This plan would offer fewer tax credits to individuals and families by restricting eligibility to citizens, nationals and “qualified aliens” under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act definition. In contrast, the ACA provides assistance to all lawfully present persons. Limiting tax credits only to persons who are citizens or “qualified aliens” would render many immigrant groups with lawful status ineligible, including Compact of Free Association (COFA) migrants. More than eight in 10 previously uninsured AAs and NHPIs qualify for financial assistance through the ACA. In short, the AHCA not an adequate replacement for the ACA because it does not offer robust, affordable, and comprehensive health insurance.
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