Affordable Care Act Repeal Hurts Rural Americans

Jan 18, 2017 Issues: Health Care

Washington, DC – Congressman Ryan responds to Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its impact on rural heath and access to substance abuse treatment in Ohio and across the United States. Congressman Tom Price, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary, is testifying today before a Senate confirmation hearing.

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study shows rural Americans are at a higher risk of death from the five leading causes, including heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke and unintentional injury.  This study comes out at a time when many rural hospitals are concerned that repealing the Affordable Care Act would cause devastating effects on access to quality care for rural Americans. Rural hospitals have benefitted from the ACA through the expansion of Medicaid in many states. A provision in the ACA also made rural hospitals eligible for the 340B program, which allows hospitals to purchase drugs at a discounted rate and use those savings to increase access. This funding is a lifeline for many rural hospitals and clinics around the country.

“Accessing healthcare for many rural communities is already extremely difficult, with many residents more likely to be uninsured, poor, and have to travel long distances to even receive care.  This study shows that rural Americans are suffering and these extreme health disparities are having devastating results when it comes to our country’s rural areas. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would put at strain on an already fragile health system by eliminating necessary funding for rural hospitals to provide quality, affordable healthcare,” said Congressman Ryan.

Furthermore, our rural communities, especially in Ohio, are also adversely suffering from the ongoing prescription drug and heroin epidemic. Studies released last week from Harvard Medical School and New York University highlights that the ACA has covered more than 220,000 Ohioans suffering from substance abuse or mental health disorders.

“Ohio continues to reel from the increase in prescription drug and heroin substance abuse. The ACA has allowed many men and women in our rural communities to receive the services and treatment they need to stay healthy when suffering from addiction. I will not stand by and allow Congressional Republicans to pull the rug out from these families and eliminate healthcare from the men and women who are struggling every day. Every week studies are being released, including the most recent report from the Congressional Budget Office, that show the devastating impact repealing the ACA will have on communities around the country. I ask Congressional Republicans and Congressman Price to read these studies, listen to their constituents, and fully understand the risk and chaos they are creating when they eliminate healthcare for millions of Americans. ” said Congressman Ryan.

A recent CBO report released yesterday shows that the number of people uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first year following the enactment of the ACA repeal. Furthermore, premiums would increase by 20 to 25 percent following the repeal.