Today marks the one-year anniversary of the passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by the U.S. House of Representatives. U.S. Representatives French Hill, Rick Crawford, Bruce Westerman, and Steve Womack all voted for the bill. The AHCA would have caused tens of thousands of Arkansans to lose health care coverage and raised costs for everyone else. It also deeply cut funding for the traditional Medicaid program that provides health care to our most vulnerable residents, like pregnant women and people with serious mental or physical disabilities.
As we wrote then, the AHCA would have essentially ended Arkansas Works, our state’s Medicaid expansion program, by shifting hundreds of millions in yearly costs to the state and making the program unsustainable. Arkansas would be unable to absorb those costs without cutting services. This move would have taken coverage away from up to 300,000 Arkansans who lack other affordable coverage options.
The AHCA also included an “age tax,” which would have allowed insurers to charge older Arkansans up to five times as much for health care as a younger person. It would have also allowed states to waive protections for people with pre-existing conditions–such as pregnancy, and chronic conditions like diabetes–from being charged tens or hundreds of thousands more for health care.
As we look back and celebrate the success of raising our voices to stop this dangerous bill from passing, this is also a reminder that proposals are still being drafted that threaten health care for millions of Americans. We hope going forward that the members of Arkansas’s Congressional delegation will reject proposals like the AHCA and instead work to ensure that more Arkansans have access to adequate and affordable health care coverage.
Click here to download a one-pager detailing the devastating impact the AHCA would have had on Arkansans.