Local healthcare groups urge senators to drop AHCA


AUSTIN (KXAN) – More than 20 healthcare and community groups in Central Texas say they are frightened about the future of healthcare. They are closely watching what happens with American Health Care Act, which is now in the hands of the U.S. Senate.

The details of the Republican-backed bill is still a mystery; and, many Medicaid patients are worried that the bill will slash state funding by millions of dollars.

That group of 20 health and social agencies wrote a letter to US Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn. The group includes the Texas chapters of the March of Dimes, the Children’s Defense Fund and the National Association of Social Workers.

They say if Medicaid funding to the state drops, it will affect pregnant women, children, seniors and people with disabilities the most. 

They fear that the AHCA, in its current form, would strip $1.5 billion from the state’s Medicaid coffers over the next decade. The bill proposes a cap on Medicaid funding from the federal government, shifting a large chunk of healthcare payments to states. It would also put people with pre-exisiting conditions into a high-risk pool for healthcare.

“We are scared,” said Bob Kafka, an organizer with ADAPT Texas, an advocacy group for people with disabilities. “You are ripping out our infrastructure that keeps us in the community.”

But, there is support for the AHCA, mostly among small business owners. KXAN reached out to the National Federation of Independent Business, which backs the bill.

In a statement to KXAN, the federation wrote that under Obamacare “our members’ costs have skyrocketed and choices for employers and employees were destroyed. Now that the House has kept its promise, we urge the Senate to pass the measure as soon as possible.”

The Senate has not said when it will vote on its version of the bill. But, senators are targeting the end of the month.

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