Washington, D.C. – The nation’s mayors today spoke out to stress the serious impact that losing healthcare coverage would have on millions of Americans.

Following The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) 85th Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. last week where more than 300 mayors gathered, Conference of Mayors officers, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Columbia (SC) Stephen Benjamin, as well as Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Mesa (AZ) Mayor John Giles sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to keep in mind the protections The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided to innumerable Americans from the catastrophic cost of illness and accidents.

Addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the letter cited the ACA provisions that enjoy bipartisan support and should be retained.

In addition to the letter, while in Washington last week, the USCM held a press conference and policy session on the issue of healthcare urging access for all. See video here, as well as many of the mayors’ statements below:

“You cannot replace something with nothing, or with something worse,” said USCM Vice President Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans. “A healthy economy relies on a healthy workforce. It is a fact that more Americans than ever before have access to the preventative services they need to stay healthy because of the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, the looming repeal of the ACA threatens the predictable funding our hospitals and clinics rely on to treat our most vulnerable. Over 180,000 people in the New Orleans area could lose access to healthcare overnight if insurance companies can once again deny coverage for preexisting conditions. Real human lives are at risk.”

USCM Vice President Columbia, SC Mayor Stephen Benjamin said, “Our cities have invested heavily and have built the infrastructure for the 21st century economy, but our most treasured asset is human infrastructure. If we repeal the ACA and fail to replace it with a real plan, this amounts to a death sentence for millions of Americans – and that needs to be clear. We can’t allow that to happen.”

“From life-saving preventative care and annual physicals, to protecting those with pre-existing conditions and banning benefit limits, the Affordable Care Act provides access to health care for those that need it most. It is critical that Congress works to move our country forward, not backward, and understands that millions of Americans rely on these benefits every day,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Chair of USCM’s Standing Committee of Children, Health and Human Services.

“In New York City, 1.6 million people stand to lose health coverage. That’s mothers and children and grandparents who won’t be able to afford to see the doctor for the most basic forms of health care. That is unacceptable. As cities, we must work together to be the first line of defense and to make it clear to Congress: we will not stand idly by in the face of injustice,” said Mayor de Blasio, Chair of USCM’s Cities of Opportunities Task Force.

“As mayors we have a duty to keep our residents healthy, and in San Francisco alone, more than 133,000 people are living healthier, better lives because of the Affordable Care Act,” said USCM Member San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “We cannot return to a time when our residents were denied coverage for having cancer, HIV, or simply being a woman. Ensuring comprehensive healthcare for all our residents is critical to our city’s safety and well-being.”

USCM Member Mesa, AZ Mayor John Giles said, “I am the Republican mayor of a city of nearly half a million
people that have benefitted tremendously by the Affordable Care Act. The ACA has reduced the uninsured by 36% in Arizona, that’s over 400,000 people. As mayors, we know that cities are the safety nets of society and if people don’t get the medical care they need, it’s going to be city fire departments and police departments responding to preventable emergencies. I add my support in calling on members of Congress to behave responsibly and join together in a bipartisan way to address this critical need in our nation and in our communities.”