Press Release – Utah’s Representatives Vote to Gut Affordable Care Act

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 4, 2017

CONTACT: Chase Thomas | Alliance for a Better Utah

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UTAH’S REPRESENTATIVES VOTE TO GUT AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

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Salt Lake City, UT – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to essentially gut the Affordable Care Act, leaving tens of thousands of Utahns and millions of Americans to fear they will lose their health insurance.

“It is unconscionable that our U.S. Representatives would vote yes on such a horrendous healthcare bill,” said Chase Thomas, policy and advocacy counsel with Alliance for a Better Utah. “Not only does this put tens of thousands of low-income and sick Utahns at risk of losing their health coverage, but it also drastically undermines the quality of coverage for everyone else. Whether you get your health insurance through Medicaid, your employer, or an individual plan — no one will be able to escape the consequences of this bill.”

Under the American Health Care Act, states may waive participation in the ACA-required “ten essential health benefits,” in addition to waiving the mandate that insurers not discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions. The AHCA also allows insurers to charge more for older Americans, guts Medicaid by removing $880 billion in funds, and cuts billions of dollars in taxes for the wealthy. All these changes were estimated to put 24 million Americans at risk of losing their health insurance, with even more expected after recent amendments.

“It is alarming that Congress is willing to jeopardize the health of the American people all in the name of fulfilling a campaign promise.” continued Thomas. “ Instead of taking the time to work out fine-tuned revisions to improve the ACA, the Trump Administration and GOP leaders have taken a sledgehammer to the most popular parts of the law. Protections for pre-existing conditions and the essential health benefits now exist in name only — it is unimaginable that Utah and many other states will not apply for one of these waivers. If our representatives truly cared about their constituents who rely on these provisions, they would not have voted for this bill.”

Earlier this year, Better Utah issued a survey asking Utahns how they felt about the effort to “repeal and replace” the ACA. Included in that survey was a question asking how many respondents benefitted from various provisions of that law. Of the 1,700 respondents, nearly 50% said they benefitted from the provision protecting against their pre-existing conditions. Many of the respondents said they would like to see various essential health benefit provisions retained in any replacement. Click here to see the full Report on the ACA Repeal and Replace Survey.

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About the Alliance for a Better Utah:
Alliance for a Better Utah is a good government advocacy and watchdog organization based in Salt Lake City. The organization works to improve the lives of all Utahns by ensuring balance, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.

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