Recently Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson joined over 50 Mayors who have already signed on to the Unites States Conference of Mayors’ (USCM) letter opposing the U. S. Senate’s Better Care Resolution Act.
The USCM’s letter is written to U.S. Senate leaders to help send a resounding message that the nation’s Mayors are unified in their opposition to this harmful bill. See letter below.
Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer:
On behalf of United States Conference of Mayors, we urge the Senate to cease their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and work across party lines to develop legislation that will improve the lives of citizens in all of our cities, large and small, urban and rural.
As Mayors, we share a responsibility for the health, wellbeing, and security of our communities, which includes ensuring access to comprehensive and affordable health care. Millions of Americans have gained insurance under law, which has been instrumental in bringing about insurance reforms from which we all benefit.
Many nonpartisan, independent experts have detailed how the proposed changes in the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 would likely trigger deep cuts to Medicaid, resulting in as many as 22 million Americans losing health coverage. The burden of covering the uncompensated costs care for those uninsured persons would disproportionately fall to local hospitals and ultimately to local taxpayers. And with the addition of the Cruz amendment, the legislation would bring us back to the pre-ACA era where those with pre-existing conditions were subject to higher premiums, medical underwriting or could be denied coverage altogether. In January, we wrote to you and stated that one of our core priorities for any health care plan was the protection of those with pre-existing conditions and this legislation does not achieve that.
With less coverage, more of our residents will turn to dialing 911 overwhelming our first responders in our cities, shifting the burden to local hospitals and the taxpayers. In addition, experts predict that if the Senate bill became law, over 600,000 healthcare jobs would be lost. These jobs are the backbone of many of our communities, providing many of our residents with solid, middle class incomes.
We agree that the current health care system needs fixing. However, the goal of any health care legislation should be to increase coverage and control costs. We fear that rather than moving us towards more coverage, the Senate proposal would do the opposite, undermining the system we have and leaving millions of Americans in far more dire conditions than under current law. And we, the cities, will be the first to witness these impacts our hospitals, our schools and our homes and will be left bearing the resulting financial and social burden.
Let’s work together to find solutions that stabilize the health insurance markets; eliminate lifetime and annual limits; cover preventive services; and insure affordable health coverage for those with pre-existing conditions; substance use disorders, mental health illnesses, and others among our most vulnerable populations.