NEW YORK, NY, May 4, 2017 – Treatment Action Group (TAG) condemns the passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) today by the House of Representatives and calls for critical community action as the dangerous bill now heads to Senate.
As noted by numerous analyses of the bill, the AHCA threatens decades of progress made in providing vital access to health care, prevention and treatment for communities living with, or vulnerable to HIV, HCV and TB. Medicaid, the largest insurance provider to people living with HIV across nation, is now closer to becoming eroded as an entitlement program that many rely on for critical access to health care and treatment. The reestablishment of high-risk pools for people with preexisting conditions threatens to trigger the loss of health coverage for 24 million Americans.
“The American Health Care Act ought to be called what it really is, The Unaffordable Care Act,” said Mark Harrington, Executive Director of TAG. “If enacted, this bill puts the lives of people with HIV, TB and hepatitis C – along with millions of others – in grave danger. Our progress towards ending these epidemics with extremely effective new tools for prevention, treatment, and cures will be in vain if people don’t have comprehensive coverage to ensure access. We must resist this bill and call on Congress to protect existing health care coverage programs and extend them to all Americans and all those who live in the United States.”
The radical reform which will destroy Medicaid, inadequately fund high-risk pooling of vulnerable communities, and continue flat-funding of the Ryan White Care Act, will place unbearable pressure on the health care system to meet the complex needs of people with HIV, access to PrEP for HIV negative people, and communities struggling with HCV or TB. Should the AHCA progress unchanged through the Senate, health care costs will rise to unsustainable levels, forcing insurers to discriminate, reintroduce AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) wait-lists, and limit coverage for essential prevention, treatment, care, and supportive services.
By giving tax breaks to the wealthy few, millions of Americans will lose health care coverage, putting their lives and health at risk. Meanwhile other health care cost-saving strategies such as expanding Medicaid to the rest of the country and curtailing exorbitant drug-pricing remain unaddressed. The passage of the AHCA sends the message to communities struggling with HIV, HCV and TB that their lives do not matter to the majority of the House of Representatives.
TAG urges the Senate to reject the AHCA and prevent the destruction of years of progress that put us on the path to end the HIV, HCV and TB epidemics.