Today’s House vote is a big step in the wrong direction for American consumers and the American health care system.
It’s no secret that there are plenty of problems with our health care system, and the status quo is still failing American consumers. But we live in an affluent society that certainly can make sure that everyone has health insurance. The Affordable Care Act, while far from perfect, made significant progress in that direction through providing subsidies to help make health insurance more affordable and expanding Medicaid to cover more people, and by removing barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Unfortunately, the AHCA in its current form will not only reverse this progress, it fails to address any of the real ongoing problems with our health care system—in fact, it is likely to make them worse.
Make no mistake: This is a dangerous bill. Not only would it endanger access to health coverage for tens of millions of Americans through cuts to subsidies and Medicaid, and weaken protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions, it also threatens to spark chaos in health insurance markets that could increase costs and degrade quality of care for countless Americans.
Real reform would not increase the number of Americans without health insurance, but instead contend with the fact the system is too expensive – we’re spending nearly 20% of GDP on healthcare – and too often fails to deliver the highest quality care, as indicated, for example, by the fact that preventable medical errors that harm patients are now the third most common cause of death in this country.
There are plenty of common-sense reforms could make real progress toward fixing these problems, such as changing the way we pay for health care to reward quality and better health outcomes instead of simply providing more and more services that are sometimes of dubious value. We can also take much stronger action to cut waste, estimated to represent a third or more of every dollar we spend on health care. If Congress wants to deliver results, there are countless steps they can take that would make a real difference.
There’s a lot of work to do, but the AHCA isn’t even a starting place for this important work. Please join us in calling on the Senate to go back to the drawing board and put together a real plan to make health care work better for American consumers.