Washington, D.C., May 4, 2017 – American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments on the House of Representatives’ vote today on the amended American Health Care Act (AHCA):
“It’s extremely disappointing that today, members of the House of Representatives failed to stand up for America’s patients – particularly those who most rely on Congress’s strong leadership. For more than two decades, our Association has embraced the core belief and advocated that health care must be accessible, affordable and adequate for all Americans. It is inconceivable why the House majority would pass this bill since it does not meet these fundamental standards.
The Affordable Care Act made it possible for 20 million more Americans to get quality health insurance coverage and, for the first time, provided guaranteed protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. This bill, on the other hand, seriously erodes these protections, including for patients suffering from cardiovascular disease (CVD) – our nation’s no. 1 and most costly killer. For the patients we represent, comprehensive care can mean the difference between life and death. Healthcare is not a luxury item, it is a necessity. A recent Association study projected that nearly half of Americans will develop pre-existing CVD conditions by 2035, so it is all the more critical that access to reasonably priced, quality care is preserved and expanded, not diminished.
Without a score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it is unclear how many people will lose their health insurance coverage under this bill or be forced to pay more for the same or less adequate care. However, if the CBO analysis of the last proposal is any indication, coverage for millions of Americans will be in jeopardy. This is a serious concern to the American Heart Association as CVD patients who lack adequate coverage have worse health outcomes than patients with insurance. This latest version of the bill does little to address other issues we had with the original legislation, including the shifting of Medicaid costs to states. For these reasons and more, the AHCA fails cardiovascular disease patients across the U.S and the Association strongly opposes the bill.
We urge the Senate to take a more thoughtful approach to our nation’s health care system and remember that American lives hang in the balance. We will continue to objectively and thoroughly evaluate all health insurance-related proposals based on our long-standing principles for healthcare reform and remain committed to working with Congress and the administration to identify and refine proposals that adhere to our principles and are fully responsive to the needs of Americans with heart disease and stroke.”
Contact: Abbey Dively (202) 785-7905; email@example.com