Official Statement on the American Health Care Act

We are disappointed that all four of Utah’s Representatives voted for the American Health Care Act on Thursday, May 4th. While we do not know the exact effects of the bill yet, because it has not yet been scored by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it is clear that the bill will create challenges for low-income Utahns.
• The AHCA phases out Medicaid expansion by 2020, which allowed 3,000 to 5,000 low-income Utah parents to become eligible for Medicaid this year.
• The AHCA block grants Medicaid, which historically causes programs to serve less individuals and become less effective, and amounts to an $880 billion cut to Medicaid. Approximately 308,000 Utahns, 12% of the state’s population, rely on Medicaid for their health insurance.
• The AHCA allows states to waive the protections against pre-existing conditions and the essential health benefits requirement. Approximately 1.2 million Utahns have a qualifying pre-existing condition and prior to the Affordable Care Act, women in Utah were charged as much as 15% more than men for the same health coverage.
• The AHCA allows insurers to charge seniors higher premiums, up to five times as much as their youngest enrollees.
• The AHCA will likely raise insurance costs for low-income Americans; 145,000 Utahns currently get financial assistance to help pay for their health coverage.
Health and food access are intrinsically linked. We know that the vast majority of Utahns that are food insecure are children, seniors, and people with disabilities, all of whom will be directly impacted by these changes. Many families that are barely getting by may find themselves facing poverty and food insecurity. If health care becomes more expensive for low-income Utahns, hunger will increase in our state. We join the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society, the AARP, the American Public Health Association, the National Disability Rights Network, Voices for Utah Children, Utah Health Policy, Project, and many other Utahns in opposing the AHCA and ask Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee to vote against it.

Gina Cornia
Executive Director, Utahns Against Hunger

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