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23 March 2017, 09:31
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100 HIV/AIDS Organisations Signed Letter Pressing Congress To Oppose American Health Care Act

100 HIV/AIDS Organisations Signed Letter Pressing Congress To Oppose American Health Care Act - picture 1

One hundred HIV/AIDS organisations signed a letter to Congress today strongly advising members to oppose passing the American Health Care Act, or AHCA because an estimated 24 million Americans would likely lose health insurance coverage, including thousands of patients with HIV if it is enacted.

The letter, sponsored by the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership’s HIV Health Care Access Working Group, warns that the AHCA weakens the federal commitment to Medicaid, threatens access to health care for low-income Americans, and undermines “key elements” in the ACA. The letter further cautions that without reliable access to care, the bill would prevent many individuals with HIV from fully benefiting from effective treatment.

“In doing so, the AHCA would jeopardise the health of hundreds of thousands of people living with HIV and threaten our nation’s public health,” the letter, signed by organisations in 21 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, states.

If the new health care reform is passed, approximately $880 billion in federal funding will be cut from state Medicaid programs, and 14 million Americans will lose Medicaid coverage by 2026, according to the letter. This will affect more than 42% of individuals with HIV who rely on Medicaid, and millions of individuals at risk for HIV. The AHCA will also end the Medicaid expansion; defund Planned Parenthood, which is the sole source of HIV and hepatitis C testing in some areas of the U.S; and eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which is “critical” to detecting and responding to infectious disease outbreaks and other public health threats.

“We cannot afford to go back to the pre-ACA sick care system that treated disability and disease rather than preventing disease and disease progression,” the letter concludes. “We hope we can count on you to oppose the American Health Care Act. Please do not let 24 million Americans, including hundreds of thousands living with HIV, down.”

In a recent statement, however, Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Tex., was optimistic that the AHCA would improve health care coverage.

“Our legislation includes ideas from Republican members who are committed to improving health care for patients and families across the country,” he said in the statement. “We’re confident these changes will set AHCA up for success in the House. We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to get this bill over the finish line and send it to the President as quickly as possible.”