FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2017
Over 100 National, State and Local Organizations Cosign ACU Letter
The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved, along with 117 other national, state and local health care organizations, sent a letter to Congress to focus attention on the importance of the Medicaid expansion funding provided through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Congressional leaders have committed to repealing the ACA later this month, and have begun consideration of a budget outline that could set the stage for major changes in the ACA.
The letter specifically urges Congress to not repeal the Medicaid expansion funding “before the enactment of a thoughtful, viable, and permanent replacement” can be passed. More than 70 million people rely on Medicaid coverage in the United States, with millions added as a direct result of the expansion funding within the ACA. Individuals enrolled in Medicaid often live in underserved communities that lack access to pharmacies, behavioral health care services, oral health care and other primary and preventive care services. Without insurance coverage, those individuals would find those scarce resources unattainable.
“Our primary focus has been to increase access to care for the underserved across the country,” said ACU Executive Director Craig Kennedy. “Eliminating the funding for the Medicaid expansion without a viable replacement plan will increase the number of underserved – the exact opposite of what we are trying to achieve.”
In addition, the letter includes a reference to the time it takes to implement any changes in health care policy at the state and local levels. The ACA has been the law of the land for almost seven years, and states are already facing tight budgets that will be devastated by a loss of the Medicaid expansion funding. The ACA provided full federal funding for the first three years of state Medicaid expansions, followed by 90% in later years. Without this funding, many states will be left with no choice but to eliminate coverage for thousands of people who cannot afford coverage on their own.
The letter concludes with a request for Congress to work with all stakeholders to find “innovative ways to improve quality, financing, and the delivery of care” for our most nation’s most vulnerable populations.
The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved is a transdisciplinary membership organization of clinicians, advocates, and healthcare organizations that provide health care for the underserved. Our programs include professional education, clinical tools, advocacy, patient education, training and technical assistance. You can learn more about ACU, our mission and our principles on our website at www.clinicians.org.
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