Last night NAFC Board Member and Executive Director of the Americares Free Clinics in Connecticut Karen Gottlieb attended the CNN Town Hall with HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price. There Karen was able to speak about her work with the uninsured for over 20 years and asked the Secretary how he plans to help our patients who often go on and off insurance due to unsteady employment and who, according to the plan, would face being charged 30% more due to a lapse in health insurance coverage. She mentioned how many of our patients can’t afford premiums due to circumstances beyond their control and often have to make tough choices.
Unsteady employment is just one of the many issues facing patients that are medically underserved and uninsured in this country, and that potentially could be uninsured in the future.
With the release of the recent CBO report, the NAFC is extremely concerned over their findings that the current legislation will leave 24 million additional people without health insurance. Currently, even with the ACA implementation, there are approximately 29 million people that still remain without insurance. This legislation, according to the CBO, almost doubles that number. This would be an enormous and disheartening step backwards.
During the CNN Town Hall, Secretary Price repeatedly mentioned how the CBO findings do not take into account the additional steps of the ACA Repeal and Replace plan, which apparently begins with the current Repeal and Replace legislation, will follow with review and changes to current regulatory policies, and then will conclude with additional legislation.
The NAFC hopes that as these plans are further revealed, discussed and debated, that we will be at the table with Secretary Price, members of Congress and the current administration to voice the needs and concerns of the most vulnerable in our country, to voice the needs of the medically underserved and uninsured that struggle to access and afford health care. We hope to be at the table to help ensure that this country does not take a giant step backwards and that we leave no one behind.