By Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H., and David Himmelstein, M.D.
The (Hudson, N.Y.) Register-Star, May 11, 2017
Congressman Faso’s vote for the GOP’s American Healthcare Act (AHCA) that repeals much of the Affordable Care Act (the ACA or Obamacare) gravely threatens the health of thousands of his constituents.
The GOP bill would take $880 billion out of Medicaid, and another $312 billion out of subsidies that help working families buy private coverage through the ACA exchanges. Instead of helping people get care, this money would be diverted to give an $800 billion tax-break windfall to people with incomes over $200,000, as well as big insurance and drug companies. The rest of us would get virtually no tax relief.
In Rep. Faso’s district, the ACA has expanded Medicaid by 68,600 and helped another 16,500 afford new coverage through the exchange. All told, his vote threatens to strip coverage from 85,100 people in our district, would weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, boost premiums for people over 40, and take tens of millions of dollars from our hospitals and clinics.
The ACA is deeply flawed. It left 28 million Americans uninsured and millions more with unaffordable premiums, deductibles and copayments. But the GOP plan would make things worse. Instead of moving backward, we should move forward from the ACA to a Medicare for All plan like the one proposed by Bernie Sanders and Rep. John Conyers (HR 676).
Rep. Faso can change his vote if the AHCA comes back to the House of Representatives for a final vote after the Senate acts on it. Please urge him to vote “no” next time, and to endorse HR 676. The health of our neighbors hangs in the balance.