This week, the AHA, joined by America’s Essential Hospitals, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, and the Federation of American Hospitals, urged the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject a lower court decision to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act.

Here’s the main reason why: Millions of people have insurance thanks to the ACA, and if we return to a world where they can’t get coverage, Americans will suffer.

Those who can’t afford coverage won’t get it. Those with pre-existing conditions will be rejected outright by insurers. And those without insurance coverage will forgo basic medical care.

This not only hurts patients … it has severe consequences for the hospitals and health systems that provide care to them. Hospitals will bear an even greater responsibility to care for the uninsured. It will strain their already-limited resources. And it will hurt their ability to provide critical services, improve quality and innovate new models of care.

We’re not alone: 24 state hospital associations also filed a brief urging the Fifth Circuit to reverse this ruling, and the ACA is being defended by 21 state attorneys general as well as the U.S. House of Representatives.

The fact is that we have a divided government and many issues — especially health care — have become politicized. Today, one side is pushing Medicare for All and the other side is pushing ACA repeal. Both plans would have damaging impacts on our ability to serve patients and our communities.

That’s why the AHA supports building and improving upon the public-private coverage framework that is helping people access the care they need.

The ACA has already expanded coverage to millions who previously couldn’t afford or get coverage … it has created programs that are fostering innovation to tackle our most-pressing health care needs — such as addressing the opioid crisis and providing more home health care to support an aging population … and it has improved health care delivery and made more coordinated care possible. Simply put: it is improving America’s health.

And we can improve the ACA by expanding Medicaid in non-expansion states and providing 100 percent of the federal matching rate for the first three years … stabilizing the insurance exchanges by restoring cost-sharing subsidies for low-income consumers … increasing subsides to more lower-income people who want to purchase private coverage on the exchanges … and adequately funding enrollment efforts – just to name a few.

The AHA has always been for common-sense policies that make it easier for patients to access care and for hospitals and health systems to deliver that care – and this will never change. We will keep fighting to protect coverage gains … we will keep driving to expand coverage to even more people … and we will keep working to advance health in America.

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