The Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) and Iowa’s 118 community hospitals are disappointed with the results of today’s vote in the US House of Representatives on the American Health Care Act (AHCA). We have serious concerns that the proposed legislation would cause harm to vulnerable patients, the health care delivery system, the state budget and the state economy.
Nearly 200,000 Iowans have coverage under current law, enabling them to get the health care they need, when and where they need it. AHCA would eliminate coverage for tens of thousands of Iowans and possibly jeopardize coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions. Even employer-based coverage is threatened by language in this bill.
The bill would also repeal enhanced federal funding for Iowa’s expanded Medicaid coverage and impose a cap on federal Medicaid funding, creating even more stress on Iowa’s budget. In addition, while the proposed legislation rolls back the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) expansion in coverage, it retains Medicare cuts to Iowa hospitals that helped pay for that coverage.
The US Senate should not rush the legislative process on this flawed proposal or on any measure aimed at repealing and replacing ACA, but instead take all the necessary time and deliberation to make needed changes that ensure meaningful and affordable health care coverage for thousands of Iowans. A contingent of Iowa hospital representatives and IHA staff will be in Washington, DC next week and IHA looks forward to a continuing dialogue with the Iowa congressional delegation to support hospitals in fulfilling their mission of providing quality care to their communities.