Mayor, City Officials Urge Congress To Block Repeal Of Affordable Care Act

Mayor Mitch Landrieu

NEW ORLEANS — Mayor Mitch Landrieu and City Councilmembers sent a letter to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Hon. Paul Ryan and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Hon. Mitch McConnell yesterday urging Congress to work to block any repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a better alternative planned. At least one in five Louisiana residents rely on the ACA for coverage, City reps said.

         “More people than ever before have access to the preventative services they need to stay healthy,” Mayor Landrieu said. “Because of the ACA, over 70,000 New Orleans residents now have health insurance. Although we have seen positive change, we are at a healthcare crossroads in our country and the stakes couldn’t be higher. The looming repeal of the ACA threatens the predictable funding our hospitals and clinics rely on to treat our most vulnerable. It is essential that our federal partners consider preserving the Medicaid expansion program and preexisting conditions provision when making decisions regarding the repeal and replace effort. We are creating healthy neighborhoods where families are safe and can flourish.”

         Excerpts from Mayor Landrieu’s and City Councilmembers’ letter to Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell include:

 

         “Louisiana is a state with a high number of low-income working individuals, and it routinely ranks as a state with some of the poorest health outcomes.  We rely heavily on the Affordable Care Act to provide accessible healthcare to our citizens. In the last six months, 375,000 residents have gained coverage through Medicaid expansion, and record numbers of Louisianans are receiving screenings, preventative health services and are being treated for newly diagnosed conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer. For the first time, residents are able to receive primary care, and have better health outcomes as a direct result of expanded coverage. This is a welcome change that is greatly improving the lives of thousands of people in our state and across the country.  I strongly urge Congress to preserve this important piece of the law when making decisions regarding the repeal and replace effort.

         “As you consider repealing the Affordable Care Act, know that your decisions will directly impact providers, patients, and families not only in Louisiana, but across the country. I am greatly concerned that if you are successful in repealing the ACA, the lack of a viable replacement bill could lead to instability in the market, rising premiums, and loss of coverage and would hurt families.  Eliminating marketplace subsidies and reducing Medicaid enrollment would hit our moderate and low-income families in Louisiana the hardest: 354,000 people stand to lose health coverage, almost all of whom are working. Additionally, approximately 2 million Louisianians with pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes and cancer could once again be denied affordable, comprehensive coverage that actually provides for their health care needs. In the New Orleans metro area, 180,000 people would become uninsured overnight.”

 

         Rates of uninsured are at an all-time low—the uninsured rate in New Orleans dropped from 24 percent to 13 percent since 2013, City reps said.

         Since 2013, The City of New Orleans has been working together with federal, state and local partners to educate residents about the Health Insurance Marketplace partnering with churches, schools, libraries, industry associations, businesses, and neighborhood groups to reach thousands about the available benefits, City reps said. In 2016, the New Orleans Health Department conducted outreach to over 2000 residents and enrolled over 500 people.

         Mayor Landrieu, who is vice president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), joined other U.S. mayors at the 85th Winter Meeting to urge Congress not to repeal ACA without a plan in place offering the same benefits that it has provided to protect all Americans from the catastrophic cost of illness and accidents.

         USCM is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.

         Read Mayor Landrieu’s and City Councilmembers’ entire letter here

 

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