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  • HIVMA Position on the Amended AHCA

    05/02/2017

    Statement of HIVMA Chair Wendy Armstrong, MD: 

    We are deeply troubled by the harm that would come to people with HIV and millions of other Americans if the amended American Health Care Act advances in Congress. We urge Congressional members to oppose the bill and protect access to healthcare coverage not only for the 1.1 million people with HIV but also for the more than 52 million others with pre-existing conditions in the U.S.

    Our concerns with the AHCA grew with the proposed MacArthur Amendment that would allow states to waive key protections put in place by the Affordable Care Act.  Allowing states to waive the community rating granting insurers the flexibility to charge higher premiums for individuals based on health status would be a major setback for those with pre-existing conditions, like HIV, who are in urgent need of affordable healthcare coverage. Higher premiums and the less generous premium assistance available under the AHCA for lower income individuals would return us to the time when individuals with HIV were virtually locked out of the individual insurance market. To make matters worse, allowing states to waive the Essential Health Benefit requirement that guarantees coverage for a minimum set of services, including prescription drugs and mental health and substance use treatment, would leave patients with more costly healthcare coverage that does not meet their basic medical needs.

    This latest amendment to the AHCA combined with phasing out Medicaid expansion and reducing federal support for the Medicaid program through a per capita cap financing formula would reverse recent progress made to reduce the uninsured rate and improve health outcomes among persons with HIV.  We urge Congressional members to ensure that any changes to the ACA improve healthcare access for our patients rather than leaving them worse off.  Their lives and our nation’s public health depend on it.

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    The HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) is the professional home for more than 5,000 physicians, scientists, and other health care professionals dedicated to the field of HIV/AIDS. Nested within the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), HIVMA promotes quality in HIV care and advocates policies that ensure a comprehensive and humane response to the AIDS pandemic informed by science and social justice. For more information, visit www.hivma.org.

     

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