Voices for Utah Children’s Statement on the Passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in the U.S. House of Representatives

04 May 2017 Written by  

We are deeply disheartened to see our leaders in Washington move forward with a proposal that will leave 24 million Americans uninsured and slash funding to Medicaid, a 50-year-old program which provides critical, foundational care to Utah kids, families, pregnant women, seniors and people with disabilities. Thanks to the ACA and Medicaid working together Utah has seen a dramatic decline in our overall uninsured rate. Today’s vote threatens to undo and reverse our progress.

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) cuts over $800 billion dollars to the Medicaid budget, and will immediately leave thousands of Utah children uninsured. States will be left with a significant budget shortfall in their Medicaid program. This shortfall will force states to make tough choices: choosing whether to cut vulnerable people from the Medicaid program, critical services-- or both. Over 300,000 Utahns currently rely on the Medicaid program. It is a critical safety net to seniors, people with disabilities and over 200,0000 children, including children with special health care needs. The AHCA punctures holes in our most trusted health care safety net.

The AHCA also removes protections for those with pre-existing conditions and proposes a return to high-risk pools, which only leave families with higher costs and worse care.

The AHCA unwinds the ACA’s foundational guarantee that insurance companies will cover essential health services like prescription treatment, maternity care and mental health services.

Furthermore, affordable health coverage will be out of reach for many seniors, rural Utahns and low-income families, who can expect to see a rise in premiums.

This harmful bill now moves to the U.S. Senate. We call on Senator Hatch and Senator Lee to act in the best interest of the people they serve, and protect Utahns’ foundational care and coverage. We look forward to working with our Senators to maintain a strong health care system, which offers robust protections, cost controls, improved quality and affordable coverage to all Utahns.

For additional information, please contact Jessie Mandle,

JessieJessie Mandle, Senior Health Policy Analyst, joined the organization in 2015. Prior to joining Voices for Utah Children, Jessie was a Senior Program Planner with the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, where she focused on nutrition and Out of School Time areas. Jessie also worked as a policy researcher in Johannesburg, South Africa and oversaw a CDC grant for Multnomah County Aging and Disability Services in Portland, Oregon. Most recently, she worked with the Utah Department of Health and the Utah Cancer Action Network. Jessie has a Master's degree in Public Heath from Portland State University and a B.A. in Government from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.