FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 7, 2016
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Jeff Van Ness, (202) 204-7515
STATEMENT OF ACAP CEO MARGARET A. MURRAY ON THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT
WASHINGTON—Margaret A. Murray, CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), made the following statement on the release of the American Health Care Act, which proposes to make substantial alterations to the Affordable Care Act (ACA):
“ACAP and its 59 member Safety Net Health Plans are carefully reviewing this bill with an eye toward assessing whether more or fewer people will have health coverage as a result—and whether health care will be more affordable or less affordable. We are also reading it with a close eye as to its effects on the stability of the business environment for health insurers operating in the Marketplace and Medicaid environments.
“We are concerned that the bill will erode the Medicaid expansion come the end of 2019; that it will exacerbate coverage instability by requiring states to redetermine Medicaid eligibility more frequently than they do now; and that it will likely increase costs to consumers in the Marketplaces and expand the number of people who live without medical coverage.
“A first look at the bill also raises at least as many questions as answers, if not more. We are left to wonder how this bill will improve the affordability of coverage and care, especially for people with low incomes. The tax credits are less generous for people with incomes close to the Federal poverty level, and cost-sharing reductions for deductibles and copayments previously offered under the ACA would be repealed. The cost-sharing reductions alone constitute $4.9 billion per year or more that would be shifted to consumers.
“While states will have access to funds to lower the cost of health care for people with low incomes in ways of their choosing, we are concerned about the operational impact this might have on health plans, especially if states change their approaches to disbursing these funds year over year. Unpredictability is a trait that is desirable in many settings, but not health insurance markets.
“Change this substantial requires some time to digest and consider. Most of all, everyone involved in this effort needs access to trusted, nonpartisan assessments of how the bill will influence coverage and costs in the near future. We need a CBO analysis on cost and coverage for this bill before taking further action.”
ACAP represents 59 nonprofit Safety Net Health Plans in 28 states, which collectively serve more nearly seventeen million people enrolled in Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other public health programs. For more information, visit www.communityplans.net.
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