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Americans across the country react to the House passage of the AHCA

Americans across the country react to the House passage of the AHCA

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Trump and Paul Ryan applaud

Last week, the House narrowly passed the American Health Care Act. The Center for Health Journalism wanted to learn how communities across the country were reacting to the bill’s surprising passage, so we asked journalists, nonprofit leaders, and health care practitioners to share what they’re hearing. Do people understand the legislation and its implications? Are they excited, fearful, or just confused?

As we continue to gather responses, we’d like to share what we’ve heard so far.

What are you hearing in your community about the House passage of the AHCA?

 Many responses were negative, with an emphasis on who stands to lose the most under the AHCA in its current form:

“Clinicians I work with are concerned about patients losing health insurance. They are mostly thinking about Medicaid cuts that could push tens of thousands of Oregonians out of the safety net.” — Joe Rojas-Burke of Oregon, science writer, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

“Most of the comments I hear are negative. People worry about losing their existing coverage without anything to replace it. People are worried that they will not be able to get insurance if they have pre-existing conditions.” — Jane Shigley of Montana, retired

"Pediatricians who care for a large number of children are horrified. The bill caps Medicaid in a way that is likely to be harmful to the 35-40 million children covered by Medicaid. It moves the standard of care for children in Medicaid from what they need to an arbitrary cost formula."  — Joe Zickafoose, MD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville

"A fear within the LGBT community that all the advancements in medical care for them, including health insurance coverage for those who are HIV positive, will be reversed." — Susan Abram, Los Angeles Daily News

Others expressed a lack of clarity over the law’s implications or divided responses in their community:

“People are frustrated in hearing that there are changes, and that the changes are not being explained to them.” — Darlene of Virginia, Administration for Children and Families

"Many people report their previous experiences without healthcare and the fear of coping with chronic illness. I have heard Trump supporters who believe that they will be fine -- that the government would never leave them without care." — Jacqueline, Registered Nurse, Native American, Michigan

Several respondents said that politically conservative friends or colleagues were either staying out of the debate or were more likely to be willing to give the law a chance:

“I'm mostly hearing/reading dissatisfaction from individuals with more liberal values, whereas individuals who I know tend to have more conservative values have been apathetic- silent or no comment on AHCA related news.” — Valerie Raziano of Pennsylvania, UPHS-Dermatology

“A lot of people in this very Republican area are willing to wait and see. Many of them don't think much will change.” – Carolyn Ewell of Utah, Expert Nursing Service

Given the rushed nature of the AHCA’s House passage, we then asked respondents, “Do the people you interact with have a clear understanding of the law and its implications?” Those surveyed said many people understood the basics but important gaps in knowledge remain:

“I think there is some clarity on basic points. But there is significant confusion about what and how government will subsidize some folks (high risk pools for example), and what kind of insurance people will be able to buy with the removal of essential benefits. Also, what the meaning of the bill is for employer-purchased health insurance and what the impact will be on Medicaid.” – Ken Thompson, University of Pittsburgh

“I think the main question I hear lately is about how the waivers of ACA provisions work, and how likely our state is to take them.” — Adam Fox, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative/ Protect Our Care Colorado

“Seems like some folks thought the issue had been settled when the last version failed to come to a vote, and others have no clue as to what this new version will mean. A few are happy that Trump killed ACA (not understanding that this has a LONG way to go before becoming law).” —Dani of Washington, senior citizen

“It depends. Health care providers tend to be quite up to speed. Consumers seem very confused.” — Paul Sisson, reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

We asked if anyone could share any anecdotes they’ve heard about the potential effects of the bill:

"Some people are worried, scared but a lot of people are not taking it seriously. They said it is a joke; the senators will not pass it."  — Ganiat Sarumi, public health nurse, city of Chicago and Nigerian Islamic Association

“I know people who are planning to get all their physicals, etc., as soon as possible so they won't lose it. I know people who have Medicaid and are extremely worried about whether our state will continue to serve them and whether waivers, such as HCBS Waiver, will be funded as well if there is less tax money available to the state.” – Jane Shigley of Montana, retired

We’ll continue to post responses as we receive them. Want to join the conversation? Please take our survey


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The Bill is an excuse to reduce benefits, unload some subscribers and to deliver a huge Tax-break to people who might not need it- those making over $275,000 per year. Why is the military budget going up but the healthcare budget going down?

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