Heartland Alliance was founded on the belief that everyone, regardless of their background or station in life, should have the opportunity to thrive. We have worked towards this goal for almost 130 years, and the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a watershed moment of progress – a clear statement that the United States is a country where everyone ought to receive quality, affordable health care.
Now, a little over seven years after the passage of the ACA, the US Senate is poised to consider another iteration of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), a bill designed to reverse much of what the ACA accomplished. This bill was drafted in secrecy without a normal committee process or the input of relevant stakeholders, impacted families, or even many Senators. This is not how good policy is made. And the result will harm millions of Americans and throw our health care system into chaos. Heartland Alliance calls on our Congressional leaders to reject this approach and oppose the BCRA.
The BCRA includes most of the same destructive elements included in its previous drafts and the House-passed ACA repeal, the American Health Care Act. The BCRA ends the Medicaid expansion that has provided coverage to so many of the people Heartland Alliance serves. It slashes funding for traditional Medicaid, putting the elderly, families with children, those with disabilities and those struggling with addiction at risk. And it reduces financial support to purchase private insurance, putting health care out of reach for many working families. In the end, millions of people will lose their health coverage, including millions of low-income Americans who will lose their Medicaid coverage.
The BCRA is a step backward toward the days where getting sick could mean bankruptcy, or being poor means that you don’t get to see a doctor. We cannot return to those days.
At Heartland Alliance, we have seen how ACA coverage has meant that people living in poverty, experiencing homelessness, fleeing violence and facing other serious challenges are able to stabilize their lives, heal, and seize new opportunities afforded by better health. We must continue on the path set by the ACA toward a health care system that is equitable, compassionate, and available to all.
We stand with our Illinois Senators, concerned citizens, and our partner organizations at the Protect Our Care Illinois coalition in demanding the Senate abandon the BCRA and its crusade against the ACA.