WSNA released the following statement on Friday, May 5, 2017:
On May 4, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. The following statement is attributable to Washington State Nurses Association Executive Director Judy Huntington, MN, RN:
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday will be devastating for patients and families in Washington state and across the country.
Under the AHCA, millions of Americans will lose their health insurance coverage. The Medicaid expansion – which brought coverage to 600,000 people in Washington state – will be eliminated in 2020, and traditional Medicaid will be block granted, forcing states to cut benefits or enrollees. The bill continues the GOP’s war on women – defunding Planned Parenthood and adding pregnancy, C-sections, sexual assault and domestic violence to its expansive list of pre-existing conditions that insurers can use to deny coverage or charge higher premiums.
The bill takes money from low-income and disabled kids to fund a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. The tax cut for those making more than $200,000 a year is juxtaposed against significant losses for public schools that rely on Medicaid funding to cover the cost of special education programs and medical equipment.
As a country, we can and must do better.
The AHCA was passed by a two-vote margin despite being opposed by most Americans and nearly all health care groups. We are pleased that the majority of Washington’s congressional delegation stood with patients and voted against this bill, including Rep. Dave Reichert and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers was the sole yes vote among Washington’s congressional delegation; Rep. Dan Newhouse did not vote.
As nurses, we have seen the benefit of the Affordable Care Act in our communities. Patients have had unprecedented access to health insurance coverage, ensuring they can access the medical and mental health care they need.
WSNA is committed to continuing to fight this draconian bill as it moves to the U.S. Senate, and to standing with Washington’s health care and elected leaders to ensure our state’s residents can access and afford the care they need.