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Dozens of Hospital/System Leaders Send Joint Letters to Congress

AHCA should ensure equity and coverage gains

March 10, 2017

Dozens of hospital leaders across Wisconsin sent joint letters to several legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives as action began on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in two U.S. House committees. The AHCA is the House Republican proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

“Specifically, we are seeking your leadership to place Wisconsin on equal financial footing as other states with respect to Medicaid funding and to preserve our important health insurance coverage gains,” said the CEOs in their letters. 

Hospital leaders and the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) have continued to push for equity for states like Wisconsin with respect to any changes under the AHCA. Wisconsin significantly reduced its uninsured population through a “partial expansion” of its Medicaid program in 2014. While that approach provided coverage for 130,000 individuals with incomes below the federal poverty level, the Obama Administration did not recognize it as an ACA expansion population. Therefore, Wisconsin has not received enhanced federal Medicaid funding to date, as some 31 other states have received. 

“[E]ven though our uninsured rate is among the best in the nation and our Medicaid program expanded to cover 130,000 more individuals, Wisconsin now spends approximately $280 million per year in state taxpayer dollars to cover the same Medicaid population for which 31 other states receive full federal Medicaid funding. We do not see this as equity.” 

Additionally, the health care leaders reminded members of Congress that hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites have gained access to affordable coverage due to income-based assistance under the ACA’s federal health insurance exchange. 

“Some 85 percent of Wisconsinites on the exchange receive the ACA’s income-based premium subsidies. On average, those individuals received $332/month in assistance. As these statistics reveal, income-based subsidies have been instrumental in making coverage accessible and affordable for many lower-income individuals in our state. We are very concerned if these subsidies are removed without being replaced with comparable assistance.”

Action continues in the U.S. House of Representatives on the AHCA.
 

This story originally appeared in the March 10, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter