OTSEGO, EDEN PRAIRIE, and COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. – February 23, 2017 –  ISAIAH faith leaders, clergy and people who depend on the ACA for health care are disseminating the newly released Health Care for America Now (HCAN) report to state representatives and staff this week.  This report details the impact of repealing the ACA on individuals and on Minnesota’s economy.

The full report can be found here: https://99m360.p3cdn1.secureserver.net/newsite/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/HCAN_Minnesota.pdf

Greater Minnesota Likely to be Disproportionately ImpactedRepeal Plan Takes Health Care Away, Shifts Costs to Patients, Inflicts Large-Scale Economic Harm

The report shows that eliminating the ACA could reduce money to hospitals and doctors by $146 billion nationwide and $731 million in Minnesota alone. But it would still require hospitals and doctors to provide up to $88 billion of “uncompensated care” to the people who lose coverage and no longer have insurance to pay their bills.  To stay afloat, providers may need to deny care, cut services or even shut down facilities, further reducing access to care and also costing thousands of health care and related jobs, especially in urban and rural communities where health care facilities are major employers. Minnesota could lose 52,900 jobs because of a repeal and it’s expected that Greater Minnesota will be hit the hardest in job, facility and financial loss because of it socio-economic relationship with its hospitals.

Against a background of “Don’t Take My Health Care,” and “Don’t Take My Medicaid and Medicare” signs, health advocates have spent months calling on Reps. Tom Emmer, Jason Lewis and Erik Paulsen to reject the Republican Congressional plans to repeal the ACA, block-grant Medicaid and privatize Medicare, referring to compiled data from the “A Cost Too High” report as evidence that these proposals cost too much and put Minnesotan’s health and economic security at risk.

380,000 people of Minnesota depend on the ACA for their health care. Repeal of the ACA would take away coverage from these people and do away with provisions that protect patients with pre-existing conditions from being denied or charged more for coverage. Repeal would also end coverage for young adults who elect to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26 and eliminate no-cost preventive care for people of all ages.

Under the Republican repeal bill, 47,266 people who receive subsidies to help pay for insurance and care under the law would lose an average of $3,512 per year, per person, leaving many unable to afford coverage. Seniors who currently get reduced prices on prescription drugs would also lose that discount, costing the average Minnesota senior on Medicare an additional $981 per month.

Along with repeal, Republican proposals to cap or block grant the Medicaid program and to privatize Medicare for seniors would also have dire consequences on people and states.

“As a pastor in Greater MN I see the impacts of the high costs of health care on my church members and members of my community. The costs of high premiums and high deductible can be catastrophic for families struggling to make ends meet. We need to fix this system in a way that makes health care MORE affordable and MORE accessible. We need affordable access to more providers, not the burden of needing to read through the fine print of more health care plans only to discover there are no providers in our area.  This is not choice,” said Rev. Todd Lippert of First United Church of Christ in Northfield. “We need a system that puts the needs of people in communities like mine over profits of insurance companies. Smaller communities like ours would be devastated by the economic impacts of a repeal of the ACA or cuts to Medicaid.”

Under the ACA, states received additional funds to cover the uninsured through the Medicaid program. Repeal stops increased funds to states for Medicaid, but caps and block grants cut funding even more severely over time. Medicaid serves mainly children, people with disabilities, seniors and low-income adults. Just repealing the ACA would mean cuts to federal health care spending amounting to $14,379,000,000 between 2019 and 2023 in Minnesota, putting a strain in the state budget that could force cuts in other services.

“Our representatives in Congress need to slow down and recognize the devastation that unraveling the ACA will wreak on people and states,” said Janice Sims, ISAIAH leader and member of Higher Ground Church of God in Christ in Saint Cloud. “Destroying our health care system and taking health care away from millions isn’t the answer to our health care problems. We are calling on reps like Emmer, Lewis and Paulsen to consider the very high cost of these proposals to constituents, to our health, to our families, to our economy, to our state budget and to reject this reckless repeal.”

“The consequences of repeal are devastating to families, but it doesn’t end there,” said Rev. Lippert.  “Hospitals and health care providers, the state’s economy and the state budget will all bear the cost of this plan. We’re essentially paying to cause harm to our own people.”