Statement by NCHC President and CEO John Rother regarding the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the American Health Care Act (AHCA)
“We need health care that is more affordable for all, but according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the current House plan moves us in the opposite direction. It is time for a fresh start.”
“The National Coalition on Health Care, a nonpartisan alliance of over 90 patient, payer, purchaser and provider organizations representing more than 150 million Americans, urges Congress to reject the current House budget reconciliation proposal and pursue a different approach.
According to CBO’s independent analysis, the House plan would have the following real-world results:
- 21 million fewer Americans with health care insurance in 2020 and 24 million fewer in 2026
- A 60% lower tax credit for eligible individuals purchasing non-group coverage in 2020
- An $880 billion cut in federal support for state Medicaid programs over the next ten years- effectively shifting these costs to states, their taxpayers, providers and beneficiaries
We also know from an earlier Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary analysis that the House plan’s repeal of the 0.9% increase in the Medicare payroll tax for certain high-income taxpayers would mean three fewer years until the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund’s projected insolvency.
“These outcomes would impose very high costs on American families and block ongoing reform initiatives that move us toward a more affordable system. We are particularly concerned that $880 billion in cuts due to reduced federal support for Medicaid expansion states, changes to Medicaid’s financing structure and cuts to home- and community-based services would imperil many positive delivery reforms that hold promise for a better performing, lower cost health system. Changes of this magnitude are also likely to disrupt the ability of physician practices, hospitals, nursing homes, community health centers, and mental health and substance abuse treatment providers to remain open and furnish needed care for patients with all types of insurance.
NCHC advocates a fresh approach to fixing what’s broken in American health care. After taking reasonable steps to stabilize the non-group market (the proposed State and Patient Stability Fund represents one worthwhile idea), Congress should focus on addressing the underlying causes of high health care costs:
- waste and unnecessary care,
- the high costs of prescription drugs,
- the lack of coordinated care for high-cost patients,
- Inadequate support for primary care, resulting in avoidable specialty care, hospital stays and institutionalization,
- lack of investment in population health.
“These five factors drive high costs without adding value, and are a more constructive focus for efforts to move our health system toward better performance and more affordable costs for everyone. NCHC is ready to work with the Congress and the Administration on an economically sustainable and politically achievable plan.”
The National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC), the oldest and most diverse group working to achieve comprehensive health system reform, is a 501(c)(3) organization representing more than 80 participating organizations, including medical societies, businesses, unions, health care providers, faith-based associations, pension and health funds, insurers and groups representing consumers, patients, women, minorities and persons with disabilities. Member organizations collectively represent – as employees, members, or congregants – over 150 million Americans.
Some members of NCHC do not, or cannot, take positions either on specific legislation, strategies or on any policies outside their respective mission areas. However, all that can, do endorse broad policy positions in support of comprehensive health system change.