Dear Commons Community,
In a letter to the editor of the New York Times, more than 120 health law and health policy professors across the United States believe that the House and Senate health bills will cause “severe, lasting harm to all of us, especially our society’s most vulnerable and the middle class.” Below is the letter as published in today’s paper.
To the Editor:
We and more than 120 health law and health policy professors across the United States believe that the House and Senate health bills will cause severe, lasting harm to all of us, especially our society’s most vulnerable and the middle class.
At a time when we are seeing significant declines in the number of uninsured and inadequately insured in our country, the bills represent a giant step backward. By cutting Medicaid funding, eliminating federal assistance for families securing private coverage, and encouraging individuals to either not purchase insurance or to buy bare-bones coverage, these proposals will result in a less equitable, less accessible system of health care.
We are deeply concerned about what these bills portend for women and children. Currently, the United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality during childbirth of any developed country. Despite the urgency to strive for better outcomes, lawmakers have specifically targeted maternal health coverage for cuts. And by shifting more families off Medicaid, children’s access to health care services will decline.
The Affordable Care Act protects all Americans from discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, expands coverage for mental health treatment and drug addiction, and fosters preventive care. Millions of Americans have health insurance for the first time, and we are at an all-time low in the percentage of citizens who lack coverage. The reform legislation proposes to wipe away these essential gains.
In 1966, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said to a group of health providers, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane.” We agree.
LAWRENCE E. SINGER
Mr. Singer is director of the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy. Mr. Hutchinson is executive director of the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics. A longer version of the letter with all the signatures is at http://aslme.org/pdfs/we-stand-for-access.pdf