AHCA 2.0, a.k.a. Zombie Trumpcare, Meets Fierce Opposition From HIV Community
[UPDATE 5/4/17: The revived American Health Care Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 4. Read our compilation of community reaction.]
In late March, people with HIV and allies rejoiced at the defeat of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would have dismantled key components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) that expanded and improved HIV-related care in the United States.
Recent weeks, however, brought the emergence of a new version of the AHCA -- or "Zombie Trumpcare," as the Daily Kos once described it. And the HIV community was ready. Here is a compilation of statements and analyses from leading organizations and community members; we will update this article with additional reactions as they become available.
HIV Organizations React
From an open letter to the U.S. House of Representatives signed by 40 HIV organizations:
The proposed $8 billion (even added to funding already provided in AHCA) is woefully underfunded and provides no guarantee that individuals with pre-existing conditions will be offered affordable healthcare coverage that covers core medical services.
From HIV Medicine Association:
We are deeply troubled by the harm that would come to people with HIV and millions of other Americans if the amended American Health Care Act advances in Congress. We urge Congressional members to oppose the bill and protect access to healthcare coverage not only for the 1.1 million people with HIV but also for the more than 52 million others with pre-existing conditions in the U.S.
From Positive Women's Network - USA:
This new version of the GOP repeal bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), would be even worse for people with HIV. It would allow states to opt out of providing essential health benefits and charge people with pre-existing conditions like HIV higher premiums. The initial bill would have left 24 million uninsured. This bill will leave coverage out of reach for even more Americans. Please tell your Congressional representative to OPPOSE the Amended AHCA Repeal Bill.
From Project RSP:
This new version of awful American Health Care Act (AHCA) would be EVEN WORSE for people with HIV than the one we killed a few weeks ago. It would allow states to opt out of providing essential health benefits and would charge people with pre-existing conditions like HIV higher premiums.
From AIDS United:
The American Health Care Act is back! The bill is still a reckless and unprecedented attack on health care as we know it. The American Health Care Act prioritizes tax cuts for the rich, guts Medicaid as we know it, makes it harder to get quality insurance, and reduces government oversight of health care.
HIV Community Reactions
@GOP <<<<< These idiots are trying to kill millions with the ACA cuts and Trumpcare does not help any of them. SAD!!!— HIV Today One... (@hiv_omj) April 23, 2017
Other Reactions and Analyses
The measure's supporters insist that their proposal would not harm people with serious medical problems. In fact, a clause states explicitly: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting health insurance issuers to limit access to health coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions."
But that is exactly what it would do.
With President Trump and Congress continuing to discuss repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, a majority of the public opposes using hard-ball tactics as a way to force Democrats in Congress to negotiate a replacement, the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds.