Latest Attack on Americans’ Health Care Must Be Defeated

We urge Senate Republicans to protect the health care needs of vulnerable individuals living with and at risk for HIV and other STDs by opposing the Cassidy-Graham-Heller-Johnson Amendment to H.R. 1628, the “American Health Care Act of 2017.” The proposal would strip coverage from those who need it the most – people with low incomes, living with life-threatening and chronic conditions, or with pre-existing medical conditions. Their plan would raise costs for people with insurance and slash support to states that have acted with compassion to expand the health care safety net.

If passed, this plan effectively would eliminate the most vital protections of the ACA including premium and cost-sharing support and replace them with an underfunded and simplistic block grant to the states. It would pave the way for insurers to deny coverage to people with a history of medical conditions; reduce coverage for essential health benefits including prescription drugs, mental health, and substance use treatment; open the door to annual and lifetime caps on coverage; and eliminate funding for Medicaid expansion coverage of more than 10 million people living on low incomes. Finally, it would repeal the 52-year-old Medicaid entitlement to coverage for low-income and disabled people while putting per person caps on federal Medicaid funding to the states. Overall, the legislation could lead to more than 32 million people losing coverage altogether.

This proposal would devastate people living with and at risk of HIV at a time when the U.S. is making progress toward ending the epidemic. It would also be disastrous for the response to other STDs at a time when the incidence is rising for gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia. It would undermine our nation’s public health efforts to conquer diseases and provide high-quality care to those who need it. This newest attack on Americans’ health must be defeated. We join the organizations representing patients, health care providers, insurers, and others in calling on Senators of both political parties to reject it and work together for bipartisan, commonsense solutions to the real problems people face.

AIDS United (AU), NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), NMAC, and The AIDS Institute (TAI) are national non-partisan, non-profit organizations focused on ending HIV in the U.S. They have been working in partnership to identify and share resources to sustain successes and progress we have made in HIV and STD prevention, care and treatment in the United States.