The Society for Public Health Education Opposes House Bill to Repeal the Affordable Care Act
WASHINGTON – March 8, 2017 – The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) strongly opposes the House bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act introduced on Monday evening.
Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans have gained access to health insurance as well as prevention and health promotion services, many for the first time in their lives. A bill repealing broad provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including the Prevention and Public Health Fund, will be devastating to our nation’s health and economic well-being.
“The proposed bill is a U-turn on our nation’s efforts to get health coverage for Americans — especially the most vulnerable such as the poor and elderly,” says Elaine Auld MPH, MCHES, SOPHE’s Chief Executive Officer. “It also further weakens our nation’s investment in prevention, which can put the nation on the road to economic recovery from spiraling health care costs.”
Restructuring the Medicaid program and repealing health insurance subsidies would leave millions of Americans with health insurance in name only, unable to afford the cost-sharing associated with their health insurance plans. Without affordable insurance coverage, these individuals are more likely to inappropriately use emergency rooms and suffer from more preventable illnesses and injuries. All insurance – both public and private – must offer evidence-based preventive services without cost to the patient. Even small cost barriers have been shown to decrease access to this invaluable, health-sustaining care.
In addition to health coverage, the proposed bill creates a gaping hole in funding the nation’s public health system, leaving Americans unnecessarily vulnerable to major disease outbreaks, bioterrorism threats and opioid misuse. Eliminating the Prevention and Public Health fund will cut the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC’s) budget by 12 percent and devastate state and local public health agencies. Cuts will be made in proven programs that can prevent costly chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Losing this funding also would leave the United States dangerously vulnerable in its efforts to vaccinate the nation’s children, address disease outbreaks, and stop prescription drug abuse.
“The proposed legislation would only serve to make health care more expensive for individuals and families, increase financial pressure on state Medicaid programs, and make Americans less healthy overall,” says Auld.
SOPHE encourages House and Senate leadership to pursue improvements to the health care, health insurance, and public health system using regular order legislation with adequate hearings, markup, and proper analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.
Contact: Dr. Cicily Hampton, director, Health Policy | 202.408.9804 | CHampton@SOPHE.org