Reject the American Health Care Act (AHCA)
On May 4, House Republicans narrowly passed the American Health Care Act, a purported replacement for the Affordable Care Act that is predicted to strip health insurance from 24 million Americans in less than a decade. The bill would allow states to remove insurance regulations that currently protect people with preexisting conditions from price discrimination. Several provisions in the bill are expected to increase premiums for older adults, middle-class households, and people living in rural communities while providing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. The bill also includes provisions that directly threaten women's health. As written, the AHCA would defund Planned Parenthood for a year, prohibit the use of tax subsidies to buy insurance plans that cover abortion, and allow states to opt out of the requirement that insurers offer plans covering ten essential health benefits, including maternity care. The healthcare bill now heads to the Senate, where it will likely be significantly altered or discarded entirely. Senate leader Mitch McConnell has already convened a thirteen-man working group to draft their own version of an ACA replacement plan. Despite the AHCA's clear attacks on women's healthcare, McConnell neglected to include a single woman in his healthcare group, opting instead to stack the group with extreme conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz. This omission is particularly troubling given that Senator Orrin Hatch has indicated the bill will likely be drafted secretly, without the typical committee review and markup and without any hearings. Such opaque legislating is unprecedented for legislation of this scope; the Affordable Care Act was subject to over 100 hearings before it was passed. Like over 80% of American voters, many Senate Republicans claim to oppose the AHCA; they also claim to support bipartisan drafting of legislation and transparency in governance. However, McConnell and his supporters' actions suggest they are more committed to appeasing right wing conservatives in their party than to protecting healthcare access for all Americans. As the Senate drafts their own ACA replacement bill, we must demand that they focus on addressing the ACA's shortcomings rather than pursue a bill that eviscerates healthcare coverage to provide tax cuts to the wealthy."