Yesterday evening, I joined dozens of other mayors across the country, in signing this letter to the Senate and House leadership in Washington, strongly opposing the American Health Care Act (AHCA.)
The letter notes that, by largely dismantling Obamacare, the AHCA would:
- eliminate health care coverage for 24 million Americans;
- eliminate Medicaid Expansion, which covers 1.2 million Americans with serious mental illness and substance misuse issues;
- eliminate the Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) requirement in Medicaid, which means states could eliminate coverage for mental health and substance misuse treatment;
- cut federal funding to Medicaid through the use of a per capita spending cap, which would severely limit mental health treatment given that 60% of behavioral health spending comes via Medicaid;
- create a 30% surcharge penalty for individuals who have a gap in coverage, which would directly affect those suffering from mental illness and addiction who are at greater risk for prolonged gaps coverage
- eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF).
As the bullets illustrate, this particular coalition of mayors is focused on mental health care, but the AHCA’s damage would extend to every aspect of our health care system, with dire medical and financial consequences for countless Americans, including thousands in New Rochelle.
The legislation has been roundly panned by health care experts on both the right and the left, and it is not clear what exactly the bill is even intended to accomplish other that satisfying campaign pledges to repeal Obamacare at any cost. The House is expected to vote today.