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Washington’s main health care delivery systems and provider organization urge Senate to protect coverage
SEATTLE—Five organizations that represent Washington State’s largest health care delivery systems, physicians and providers are united in their disappointment with the passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by the House of Representatives. The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA), Washington State Medical Association (WSMA), Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Centers (WACMHC), and the Community Health Network of Washington (CHNW), along with its subsidiary non-profit managed care company, Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW), all believe the bill will harm their patients and the state’s health care system and are committed to working with the Senate to defeat or significantly modify the bill in line with their principle of preserving coverage.
These organizations see this version of the AHCA as even more dangerous than previous versions because it reduces protections for people with pre-existing conditions. It also cuts nearly $1 trillion from Medicaid, which would deliver a devastating blow to patient coverage, particularly for the 600,000 Washingtonians (80 percent of whom are working families) who have gained it through Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Leanne Berge, CEO of CHPW and CHNW said, “This piece of legislation would strip health insurance from so many, but it is a long way from becoming law. As the Senate takes up this debate, we urge them to develop a different approach that seeks input from key health system stakeholders and adopts bipartisan solutions to improve the health care system, so that it works for all Americans and protects the most vulnerable among us.”
Cassie Sauer, CEO of WSHA said, “Washington State’s Congressional delegation understands what’s at stake for the more than 700,000 Washingtonians that gained access to health care under the ACA, and they need to continue to hear from their constituents. We applaud Representatives Dave Reichert and Jaime Herrera Beutler for voting ‘no,’ against tremendous pressure from House leadership and the president. We appreciate the conviction and compassion their votes represent.”
According to Bob Marsalli, CEO of WACMHC, “Our conversations with our delegation have been respectful and based in facts surrounding the loss of coverage the AHCA would bring. We will continue these conversations with our Senators to ensure that Washington State’s leadership in health care innovation helps drive positive solutions.”
WSMA President Shane Macaulay, M.D, said, “While we stand ready to engage in finding solutions that will address the flaws in our current health care system, this work cannot be done in isolation. To date, there have been no public hearings on the AHCA. The legislation has been drafted and amended by House lawmakers with virtually no input from health care stakeholders. Moreover, the House passed the AHCA without waiting for an updated score from the Congressional Budget Office. The physicians of Washington state stand on the frontlines of care. It is our goal to work together toward positive health outcomes for all.”
Together, CHNW, CHPW, WACMHC, WSHA, and WSMA urge the Senate to reject the American Health Care Act and develop a plan that improves our health care system and puts patient coverage at the forefront. Collectively, these groups represent 107 hospitals, 267 clinics, 10,000 physicians and other providers, 315,000 members, and more than 17 million patient visits a year statewide.
About Community Health Network of Washington (CHNW) Since 1992, Community Health Network of Washington has served as a statewide system of community health centers that works to ensure all Washingtonians have access to medical care and health insurance coverage. From the provision of medical care, to IT solutions, to advocacy at the public policy level, CHNW works to improve individuals’ and families’ access to health care, by overcoming barriers including geographic location, insurance status and income.
About Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW) Founded in 1992 by a network of community and migrant health centers in Washington State, Community Health Plan of Washington is a not-for-profit health plan. The mission of CHPW is to deliver accessible managed care services that meet the needs and improve the health of our communities and to make managed care participation beneficial for community-responsive providers.
About Washington Association of Community & Migrant Health Centers (WACMHC) The Washington Association of Community & Migrant Health Centers is a non-profit organization formed in 1985 to advocate on behalf of the low-income, uninsured, and underserved populations of Washington State served by community health centers. These health centers serve nearly 1,000,000 Washington residents with preventive and primary health care and enabling services at more than 250 clinic sites across the state.
About Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) The Washington State Hospital Association works to improve the health of all Washington state residents by being active on key issues of policy and quality. The Triple Aim guides its members and its work, as it strives to improve the patient experience, improve the health of populations and reduce the cost of health care.
About Washington State Medical Association (WSMA)
The Washington State Medical Association represents physicians, physician assistants, residents, fellows and medical students in all specialties and practice settings across Washington State. Its vision is to make Washington the best place to practice medicine and to receive care. For more information on the WSMA, visit wsma.org.