Umair Shah’s story isn’t an uncommon one in public health. Starting out in medicine, with a career as an emergency department doctor, he said it quickly became clear that most of what impacts our health happens outside the hospital and in the community.
The defeat of Republicans' so-called "skinny" repeal is good news for public health. But what's next?
With the future of the Affordable Care Act still up in the air, most of the news coverage has gone to insurance coverage, premiums and Medicaid. And rightly so. But also included in the massive health reform law were a number of innovative measures to improve the quality and value of the medical care we actually get in the doctor’s office. With repeal still on the table, those measures are at risk too.
Remember in the bad old days before the ACA, when those who bought individual plans on the private market faced unpleasant surprises – like finding at out a very inopportune time that their plans didn’t cover hospitalization or maternity care, or that they’d reached a lifetime limit? If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has his way, we’ll be going back to those hated conditions, but with the added burden of deep Medicaid cuts and other provisions that are awful for public health.
Both the Senate BCRA and the Freedom Caucus budget proposal aim to cut spending on crucial assistance programs while granting large tax breaks that disproportionately benefit the wealthy.
The Congressional Budget Office’s initial score of the Senate’s “Better Care Reconciliation Act” calculated that 22 million people, 15 million of them Medicaid beneficiaries, would lose health insurance by 2026. For Medicaid recipients, though, the picture worsens steadily after that ten-year window, due to per-capita caps on how much the federal government would contribute.
Let's remember the big picture about Medicaid cuts.
GOP health care bills would cripple public health opioid response: ‘We’d essentially be putting up the white flag’
In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, nearly 200 people have died from opioid-related overdoses in the first five months of this year. That means that this one U.S. county is on pace to lose more than 700 people to fatal overdoses by the end of 2017.
The House and Senate health care bills are overflowing with proposals that will strip Americans of access to quality, affordable health care. But perhaps the cruelest part is what they do to children — the most vulnerable and powerless among us. Children can’t show up at the ballot box to protect their health and so it truly is up to the rest of us.
This is the harsh reality of the Senate health care [...]