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As the 115th Congress has launched its new year of work, House and Senate members have pushed forward on actions designed to repeal the Affordable Care Act with little discussion about its replacement. Over the past couple of weeks, representatives from physicians groups, hospital associations, safety net health providers, foundations and even the Mayor of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas have urged Congressional leaders to refrain from immediate action to repeal the health law without first laying out a replacement plan.
The Republican majority in Congress has stated its position that the ACA does not work and needs replacement. However, some members have expressed concerns about undermining health coverage for their constituents without having a plan ready to implement.
These political discussions are raising concerns across our two states. Although Kansas and Missouri did not expand Medicaid, thousands of residents have gained coverage as a result of the health law and consumer interest in coverage remains strong: As of December 31, close to 96,000 Kansans had signed up for health plans through the health insurance marketplace; nearly 250,000 Missourians had done the same.
This week the REACH Foundation sent letters to members of Congress who represent people in our bi-state service area to urge them to outline a replacement plan before moving ahead with repeal and remind them that the health law has resulted in significant decreases in uninsurance throughout the two states.
Even as U.S. House and Senate leaders and our two states’ representatives discuss their intentions regarding the health law, it is important that individuals from all sectors continue to push for a process that doesn’t leave millions of Americans hanging regarding their coverage.
Thank you for sharing your stories and speaking up for your community members during this challenging time. We’re pleased to share two examples of letters outlining our concerns.