By Ramona du Houx
The nation’s mayors on January 17, 2017 at The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) 85th winter meeting in Washington, D.C. spoke out to stress the serious impact that losing healthcare coverage, with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would have on millions of Americans.
Following conference more than 300 mayors, sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to keep in mind the protections The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided to innumerable Americans from the catastrophic cost of illness and accidents.
Many economists have stated that they believe a recession would be trigered if the ACA is repealed without being replaced by the same measures in the ACA.
The letter cited the ACA provisions that enjoy bipartisan support and should be retained.
Bangor's Mayor Joe Baldacci has signed onto the U.S. Conference of Mayors Letter on Protecting Healthcare.
Baldacci believes healthcare is a human right. "The ACA has helped health clinics throughout Maine, provided new avenues for people to get healthcare coverage and has been a major component in funding for mental health patients and opioid addiction victims. While the state never accepted the increase in Medicaid funding, which would have given thousands more healthcare coverage, the ACA is providing critical care to countless Mainers, and needs protection. Everyone should have a right to healthcare coverage," said Baldacci.
Mayors from small cities to large metropolises signed on to the letter pact.
“In New York City, 1.6 million people stand to lose health coverage. That’s mothers and children and grandparents who won’t be able to afford to see the doctor for the most basic forms of health care. That is unacceptable. As cities, we must work together to be the first line of defense and to make it clear to Congress: we will not stand idly by in the face of injustice,” said Mayor de Blasio,
The letter mayors from around the country will send to Reps. and Senators in Congress:
On behalf of United States Conference of Mayors, we urge Congress to take into consideration the effect that the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) will have on our nation's cities large and small, urban and rural.
As Mayors, we share a responsibility for the health and well-being of our communities, which includes ensuring access to comprehensive and affordable health care. Millions of Americans have gained insurance under the ACA, and the law has been instrumental in bringing about insurance reforms from which we all benefit. It is imperative that we preserve this progress.
The ACA has improved the lives of many Americans and shouldn't be tossed out without careful consideration of the effect. Repealing the ACA would deny desperately needed access to care to individuals and families; place an undue burden on our local hospitals; and, would rescind safeguards for patients currently suffering from chronic and terminal illnesses.
Moreover, there are important provisions of the ACA which have bipartisan support, are working well, and should be retained including:
- 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; and,
- Providing coverage for preventive services at no additional cost
Further, Mayors support the provisions in the ACA, which have increased mental health and substance use disorder benefits and provided parity. Mayors, also, oppose efforts to convert Medicaid to block grants.
The effects of repealing the ACA will be felt most heavily at the local level. It is our cities and counties that will see increases in indigent care costs for our hospitals, in uninsured rates and uncompensated care costs; and it is our low and moderate income residents who will return to a time of having to choose between health care and everyday living expenses, like groceries.
As Mayors representing millions of citizens, we are united in urging you to build upon, not tear down, the progress that has been made to our healthcare system and to ensure that none of the 20 million newly covered individuals is left without health care coverage.
Mayor of Oklahoma City
Mitchell J. Landrieu
Mayor of New Orleans
Stephen K. Benjamin
Mayor of Columbia, SC
2nd Vice President
Martin J. Walsh
Mayor of Boston
Chair, Children, Health and Human Services Committee
Bill de Blasio
Mayor of New York City
Chair, Cities of Opportunity Task Force
Edwin M. Lee
Mayor of San Francisco
Mayor of Mesa