Columbus – Today, Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) blasted the passage of the American Healthcare Act (AHCA). The AHCA narrowly passed with 20 Republicans and all Democrats voting against the bill. The AHCA has been criticized for allowing states to apply for waivers to get rid of popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act – including the ban on coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and the elimination of annual and lifetime caps. 

"The American Health Care Act is a travesty,” Senator Tavares stated. “Congressional Republicans are more concerned with giving the President a ‘victory’ than they are with making sure the most vulnerable Americans have basic access to healthcare and consumer protections. Those with low incomes and the elderly population may be priced out of the insurance market entirely while the wealthiest among us receive a huge tax break.

"We are about to return to a time when folks with chronic diseases could be turned down for insurance, and when families could go broke paying for procedures because they hit a lifetime cap. The bill doesn’t even cover essential benefits such as mental health and substance abuse disorders, despite the fact the entire country is in the midst of a devastating opiate crisis. The AHCA is more than just a bad piece of legislation; it is a cruel and usual punishment that will hurt the very people our elected officials are supposed to serve.”

The AHCA will also affect states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Under the bill as currently drafted, the federal government would allow states to place unnecessary and burdensome work requirements on the recipients of Medicaid under the expansion. It would also stop federal payments for the expansion in 2020.

“The expansion of Medicaid has done wonders for over 700,000 Ohioans who have gained coverage through it," Senator Tavares added. "People who would have otherwise had no access to care are finally having their long time health issues addressed. Medicaid expansion has helped Ohioans become well enough to gain employment. This loss of coverage will be devastating, especially to our minority populations who already struggle to access basic services. Those who voted for this bill should be ashamed of themselves."

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