It’s the reason patients, doctors, hospitals and several leading national advocacy organizations, including AARP, gathered in Reno, Nev., on Wednesday morning. They were assembled to highlight concerns Nevadans have about health reform proposals being discussed in Congress, specifically the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in May.
“We have an urgent mission, combining our strength to implore the U.S. Senate to scrap the harmful act that the House passed on May 4th,” said AARP Board of Directors President Eric Schneidewind. “We have joined forces to urge the Senate to start fresh, to create a new bill that hangs on to the hard-won health insurance protections that Americans have gained in recent years. We need a bipartisan bill that will put patients first.”
Under the AHCA, 440,000 Nevadans under age 65 (25 percent of the population) with preexisting health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease, could see their insurance premiums skyrocket. Additionally, the AHCA would cut $839 billion from Medicaid nationally over 10 years, which would have a significant impact on Nevada residents; this includes 51,000 people age 65 and older, 73,000 people with disabilities and 245,000 men, women and children who receive addiction treatment through Medicaid.
The groups’ top spokespeople at the Protect Patients First program urged Nevada lawmakers to do just that, addressing shortcomings in four key areas: affordability of insurance, access to essential care, protection for those on Medicaid and protection for those with employer-sponsored health insurance.
“Our groups have diverse interests but we share a deep concern about the dire effects of this house-passed bill,” Schneidewind said.
This is the second event of the Protect Patients First series that organizers are hosting across the country; the first was in Ohio. The groups plan to host events in Colorado and West Virginia in the weeks ahead. The hope is to get the attention of Congress to protect patients first and take a bipartisan approach to reforming a health care system that focuses on the health of all Americans.
For details on future health events, email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @AARPMedia.