COLUMBUS – The American Health Care Act (AHCA) threatens patients’ access to affordable, high quality healthcare. With nearly 540,000 Ohioans and 24 million people nationwide in danger of losing coverage, the Ohio Nurses Association is urging Ohio’s federal Senators to reject this attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
“The AHCA is in direct contrast to the legislative priorities set forth by Ohio’s nurses,” states Lori Chovanak, MN, RN, APRN-BC, chief executive office of the Ohio Nurses Association. “The bill would decrease Medicaid funding by $880 billion over 10 years, dramatically increase premiums on seniors and repeal income-based subsidies that make it possible for millions of families to buy health insurance. Essentially, the AHCA would restrict Ohioans access to affordable and quality healthcare.”
The AHCA seeks to rollback Ohio’s Medicaid expansion without a viable alternative for those obtaining coverage under the expansion. Medicaid expansion has helped over 700,000 people belonging to Ohioans most vulnerable populations obtain health coverage. The rollback would increase uncompensated healthcare and would again place our hospitals and other health care institutions in financial distress.
The AHCA would also allow states to waive essential health benefit protections which would likely cause exponential increases in the premiums of those with pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, insurance companies could decline coverage for substance abuse treatment, maternity care and preventive service.
“Nurses, who are seen as the most trusted profession and are ethically bound to advocate for patients, cannot stand behind a bill that will harm the health of Ohioans,” states Sally Morgan, president of the Ohio Nurses Association.
ONA is also concerned about the exclusion of nurses and other health professionals’ voices in crafting repeal and replace legislation despite repeated attempts at involvement from groups like ONA’s national constituent, the American Nurses Association.
“Nurses make up the largest healthcare workforce in the country and it’s irresponsible to not have us at the decision making table. ONA is committed to working with lawmakers to find the right solution, and I strongly encourage Ohio’s and the nation’s Senators to include nurses in this important conversation that affects every American,” commented Tiffany Bukoffsky, the association’s director of health policy and nursing practice.
Molly Homan, Director of Communications
Ohio Nurses Association