It is with a mixture of outrage and profound disappointment that RHD views the U.S. House of Representatives’ move to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This misguided legislation will do real damage to our most vulnerable citizens, the very people that RHD cares for with essential services every day. We join with providers, doctors, nurses, patient advocates, the AARP, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the millions of Americans in danger of losing their health care in condemning this action. Further, we urge the US Senate to completely reject this legislation, institute a process that includes true bipartisan analysis of the financial and social impacts of any healthcare reform plan, and resolutely stand up for the wellbeing of the American people.
RHD’s mission is to serve and support the most vulnerable people in our communities across the U.S. Each year 50,000 children, adults, seniors, families — people with intellectual disabilities and autism, people with severe medical and behavioral health needs, people who do not have safe housing and adequate food, people who are suffering from the national epidemic of opioid addiction, and many more — depend on RHD for vital, life-saving services. By pulling back on protections and provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), moving Medicaid to a per capita cap program, and reducing federal money to states to provide for the Medicaid program, the AHCA will cripple those efforts in almost every conceivable way, and rob the most vulnerable people in our society of opportunities they desperately need. At a time when we are already challenged with a national workforce crisis caused by funding levels that do not support family-sustaining wages, the massive cuts to Medicaid resulting from the AHCA will be positively catastrophic.
This is a common refrain, but it is true every time — reducing support for essential services only costs all of us more in the long run. The people who require these services do not disappear – they show up in emergency rooms, in shelters unable to accommodate them, and in an already overburdened judicial system. Taxpayers will still pay to provide for people in need. But the people will suffer and each of us as taxpayers will pay more for it.
To think that many of our elected officials are looking for a quick political “win” at the expense of human lives is truly unconscionable. This is not leadership. We must demand more from our government, our leaders, and ourselves. RHD is working diligently with Senators on both sides of the aisle to protect the people we serve, and we urge every concerned citizen to do the same. We call upon our Senators to stand up for what is right, and put the care and safety of their constituents – our families, friends and neighbors — first.