National Stroke Association Opposes Senate Health Care Bill

The National Stroke Association issues a statement opposing the U.S. Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.

Today the U.S. Senate released the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, a healthcare bill that would be devastating to the stroke community. First, this bill would increase premiums for millions of Americans who buy health insurance on the individual market and would eliminate subsidies that help cover out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays and deductibles. Second, the bill would make unprecedented cuts to Medicaid, a program that covers over 70 million Americans and over 60% of nursing home and long-term care residents nationally, many of whom are stroke survivors. These Medicaid cuts would also dramatically increase the total number of Americans without health insurance.

Finally, this bill allows states to waive certain ‘essential health benefits’ such as chronic disease management services. Without mandatory coverage for the management of risk factors for stroke, such as diabetes and hypertension, we fear the result will be an increase in the incidence and impact of stroke. Additionally, insurers in waiver states will also be free to re-impose lifetime and annual benefits caps—something prohibited under the Affordable Care Act currently. These changes will impact not only the individual health insurance market, but also the employer market.

“The key to reducing the incidence and impact of stroke, the nation’s fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult long-term disability, is access to basic, preventative primary care,” said Robyn Moore, CEO of the National Stroke Association. “Rather than expanding access to care, this bill dramatically reduces the number of Americans with access to affordable, high quality healthcare. For these reasons, the National Stroke Association continues to oppose this bill in its current form. We remain committed to working with Congress and the current administration to improve access to healthcare for all Americans.”

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