Healthcare update: why Medicaid expansion is necessary and what YOU can do

Just weeks ago, we watched the AHCA crash and burn. But alas: whisperings echoing from the GOP have warned of a zombie-AHCA rising from the grave. Like a zombie, the AHCA has rotted from the inside and has emerged more grotesque than before.

The Freedom Caucus, a group of the most conservative lawmakers in Congress responsible for the death of the AHCA, are demanding the following concessions from party leaders as they continue to negotiate the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act:

  • Allow states to opt out of providing essential health benefits. For more information on the widely-popular essential health benefits covered under the ACA, visit this page on our website.
  • Do away with community rating — a rule “that prevents health insurers from varying premiums within a geographic area based on age, gender, health status or other factors.” This would essentially gut the pre-existing conditions protections of the ACA, allowing insurers to charge more based on individual medical history.

This combination would leave sick people with impossible high costs that very few could pay. While the pre-existing conditions clause would survive in this bill, it would be in words alone – not in practice. At the same time, these high costs would provide more inferior coverage. Bolstered by concerned constituents across the nation, more moderate Republicans have refused to acquiesce to these demands, stalling negotiations as Congress headed into their April recess.

It remains to be seen when – if ever – changes will be made to the ACA and what those changes could look like. One thing we cannot continue to wait for, however, is making sure every member of our community is able to access coverage for their health. The most glaring area in our state: the Medicaid coverage gap.

Remember Governor Herbert’s plan to expand Medicaid, Healthy Utah? That plan was proposed three years ago! Due to the callous refusal of Republicans in our state legislature to “cover the gap,” 53,000 Utahns have been living without healthcare coverage for years. Not only has this impacted the health and finances of tens of thousands of individuals, it has also deprived our state of millions of dollars in federal dollars and most likely caused hundreds of deaths.

Call on our Governor and legislators up on the Hill: fully expand Medicaid to cover all those who are still waiting!

CALL TO ACTION

  • Sign this petition to Governor Herbert and state legislative leaders asking for the full expansion of Medicaid in Utah (trending on our Petitions, Petitions! page). Tens of thousands of Utahns have been waiting for years and we cannot afford to make them wait any longer.

More information on the healthcare debate

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(Adapted from ABU)

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