ARLINGTON, Va., May 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The American Diabetes Association (Association) is disappointed that today, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) legislation to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Association remains deeply concerned with the AHCA and has expressed our reservations throughout the rushed legislative process. The most alarming last minute changes to the bill will allow states to waive the requirement for essential health benefits and health status rating. Weakening these rules will give insurers the ability to charge people with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, higher prices. It will also allow insurers to deny people with diabetes coverage for the care and services they need to treat their disease. States that waive these protections would be required to set up a risk sharing program, which could include a high-risk pool. Historically, high-risk pools have resulted in higher premiums, long waiting lists and inadequate coverage.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that up to 24 million people would lose their coverage should the AHCA become law. Access to adequate and affordable health care allows individuals to obtain the necessary medical services they require to manage their disease and prevent devastating complications. Thus, we are dismayed that the House passed a bill that will strip health insurance from millions of vulnerable Americans.
The Association is also alarmed by the significantly weaker tax credits compared to current ACA tax credits; the proposed continuous coverage premium penalty; and the proposed changes to Medicaid under this bill. If the AHCA is enacted, each of these elements will have a devastating effect on people with diabetes and will negatively impact their ability to manage their disease. Finally, the legislation repeals the Prevention and Public Health Fund after 2018, eliminating almost 40 percent of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) chronic disease prevention and health promotion budget—a drastic step backwards for diabetes prevention.
The AHCA falls short of the minimum standards for an ACA replacement, which the Association outlined and that fellow patient advocacy groups agree are necessary to ensure continued access to health care for those who need it. The Association is discouraged by the passage of the AHCA in the House of Representatives. However, we stand ready to work with the Senate to address the dangerous provisions contained within this bill. We encourage Senators to reject the AHCA and work to improve health care for individuals with diabetes.
About the American Diabetes Association
More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, and every 23 seconds another person is diagnosed with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (Association) is the global authority on diabetes and since 1940 has been committed to its mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. To tackle this global public health crisis, the Association drives discovery in research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and provides support and advocacy for people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes and the health care professionals who serve them. For more information, please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit diabetes.org. Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).
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SOURCE American Diabetes Association