Senate approval of budget resolution threatens health of millions of Americans

Date: Jan 12 2017

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APHA urges House to oppose measure, protect Affordable Care Act

Washington, D.C., Jan. 12, 2017 — This morning’s Senate vote to approve the budget resolution sets in motion the process that could repeal the Affordable Care Act. The American Public Health Association today admonished the Senate and urged the House of Representatives to reject the measure.

"We are deeply troubled that the Senate hastily approved the budget resolution that could repeal the Affordable Care Act with no replacement plan in place," said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. "Where is the plan to ensure access to quality, affordable health insurance for those who will lose it? This dangerous decision will have devastating effects on families in communities across the country.”

More than 20 million Americans have gained insurance under the ACA. Millions of low-income families have received access to care through expansion of the Medicaid program. And many millions more have gained access to preventive health services at no cost under the law. All is at risk.

Repeal of the ACA would also gut the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a critical piece of the health law that supports public health efforts to reduce the leading causes of death and disability.

"The Prevention and Public Health Fund is a critical investment in evidence-based strategies that reduce disease and save lives," said Benjamin. "For the first time, our nation’s children are facing a shorter life expectancy than their parents. This is not the time to scale back prevention efforts.

“The fund is also responsible for 12 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's budget. Loss of this funding would devastate our nation's leading health agency at a time when we face a growing epidemic of chronic disease, among other threats. Such a loss would be unconscionable.

"We thank those senators who opposed the resolution for taking a responsible stand and putting the health of Americans first," said Benjamin.

The measure passed the Senate by a 51-48 vote. The House is expected to take up the resolution Friday.


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