The House of Representatives may vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as early as Saturday. In this version is an amendment that may again cause consumers to be denied coverage based on preexisting health conditions. Other changes would eliminate mandatory coverage requirements, a key element in making sure all people with insurance receive certain basic benefits.

The hospital community strongly opposes this latest version of the bill because of the effect it will have on patients and hospitals. The previous projection of 24 million losing coverage is probably low now, given the provisions in the new bill. Many of the screenings currently part of all policies, screenings that save money and reduce premature deaths, will become optional and available only in plans costing much more. Finally, all of us rely on having medical facilities close by when emergencies strike, or to prevent unnecessary inconvenience and costs associated with traveling for appointments. The explosion in charity care that will occur with passage of this bill will threaten the existence of many hospitals, especially small ones like Virginia Gay.

I am not under the illusion that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was a great piece of legislation. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that making bad legislation much worse isn’t going to help us either.

Please contact your representatives before Saturday if you are as concerned as I am about the effect of this legislation.

The contact information for Representative Blum is as follows: or by phone 202-225-3121

Mike Riege