Ensuring the poor and most vulnerable have access to quality health care services is central to Americares mission to save lives and improve the health of people affected by poverty or disaster. With today’s confirmation of Tom Price as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Americares is compelled to speak out on the importance of health care access for children and adults in need.
The Affordable Care Act helped over 20 million people gain health insurance, and the number of uninsured in the United States has fallen to an all-time low. Removing the ACA and the health coverage it provides without a suitable replacement could put the health of millions of vulnerable Americans in jeopardy.
It is impossible to know the full impact of repealing the law without knowing what will replace it. But if insurance subsidies are eliminated or reduced, or Medicaid programs are scaled back, we can reasonably expect the uninsured population to rise. An estimated 30 million Americans are projected to become uninsured if the ACA is partially repealed, including many low-income children and adults, according to the Urban Institute.
Changes to the Medicaid program would likely have immediate impact on our health programs, as Medicaid benefits the lowest-income patients. Demand at free clinics and community health centers in expansion states would rise and likely result in more requests for assistance from the network of safety net clinics Americares supports nationwide. A reduction in Medicaid benefits in Connecticut would likely lead to an increase in patients seeking care at the Americares Free Clinics.
Americares continues to support quality health programs for the uninsured in all 50 states. With good health, people can attend school, be productive at work, care for their families and contribute to strong communities.