WASHINGTON – As lawmakers in Washington work to ‘repeal and replace’ the Affordable Care Act, several mayors from across the county are expressing their concerns with the idea.
Officers for the Conference of Mayors sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to encourage them to keep certain aspects of the act.
“From life-saving preventative care and annual physicals, to protecting those with pre-existing conditions and banning benefit limits, the Affordable Care Act provides access to health care for those that need it most. It is critical that Congress works to move our country forward, not backward, and understands that millions of Americans rely on these benefits every day,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Chair of USCM’s Standing Committee of Children, Health and Human Services.
The mayors asked lawmakers to work to keep the following provisions:
- Insuring children up to the age of 26
- Eliminating lifetime and annual limits
- Assuring eligibility for insurance coverage even with pre-existing conditions
- Guaranteeing coverage for pregnancy and breast cancer screenings
- Providing coverage for preventive services at no additional cost.
The letter also expressed strong support for the provisions that increase mental health and substance use disorder benefits. The mayors also expressed opposition to efforts to convert Medicaid to block grants.
“You cannot replace something with nothing, or with something worse,” said USCM Vice President Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans. “A healthy economy relies on a healthy workforce. It is a fact that more Americans than ever before have access to the preventative services they need to stay healthy because of the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, the looming repeal of the ACA threatens the predictable funding our hospitals and clinics rely on to treat our most vulnerable. Over 180,000 people in the New Orleans area could lose access to healthcare overnight if insurance companies can once again deny coverage for preexisting conditions. Real human lives are at risk.”
The letter was signed by Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Columbia Mayor Stephen Benjamin, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Mesa Mayor John Giles.