Repeal Will Threaten Safety of Low-Income Americans & Put Hospitals in Economic Jeopardy

Washington, D.C. – The nation’s mayors stressed, once again today, the serious impact that losing healthcare coverage would have on millions of Americans noting the effects of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be most heavily felt at the local level.

On a press conference call with reporters, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Children, Health and Human Services Standing Committee, USCM Vice President New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and USCM Chief of Staff Ed Somers, released a bipartisan letter to Congressional leaders from USCM with more than 130 mayoral signatures from cities across the country showing support of their message is widespread.  To hear audio of today’s call, please see here.

“Healthcare is not a privilege; it is a human right,” said Mayor Walsh, who led the call.  “I am proud that mayors across the country are standing up in a bipartisan effort to improve the ACA, not repeal it.  We have heard from mayors on both sides of the political spectrum who agree that key provisions must be maintained moving forward. We want to be a part of the conversation with federal lawmakers, we will be watching, and we will be sure that whatever change happens, we will be taking the lead to protect our citizens.”

In the letter, mayors underscore the importance of the patient protections included in the ACA which have enjoyed bipartisan support and protected innumerable Americans from the catastrophic cost of illness.  Mayors maintain the following important provisions of the ACA are working well and should be retained:

  • Insuring children up to the age of 26;
  • Eliminating lifetime and annual limits;
  • Assuring eligibility for insurance coverage even with pre-existing conditions;
  • Guaranteeing coverage for pregnancy and breast cancer screenings; and,
  • Providing coverage for preventive services at no additional cost

To review the letter to Congress and a list of the more than 100 mayoral signatories, please see here.

Today’s call comes on the heels of yesterday’s National Mayors’ Day of Action, which involved 90 mayors in cities large and small, urban and rural joining with key stakeholders, including residents, small businesses, and hospital administrators to galvanize local action around their message.  Mayors have been using the #MayorsStand4All in their social media for amplification.

“America cannot be strong if its people are not healthy. Mayors are bringing more attention to this issue because we play a major role in the governance of this country and we are closest to the people who will be impacted,” said Mayor Landrieu. “The rhetoric coming out of Washington undermines the healthcare innovations we are achieving locally; and we will continue to do whatever we can to make sure that the baby is not thrown out with the bath water.  Our jobs are about fixing things and making them work, so we are willing to work with Congress, but our message is we have non-negotiables that we are immovable on and we know that the majority of Americans do not want their healthcare taken away; they want it to be more affordable.”

Next week, mayors are gathering in Washington, D.C. for the USCM leadership meeting from March 1-3, and have invited Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to meet with them to discuss the future of the ACA.  Mayors are also scheduling visits with Congressional members during their leadership meeting.

“In cities across the country, we are seeing growing support for retaining key provisions of the Affordable Care Act that we know will help residents who need it most,” Tom Cochran, USCM CEO and Executive Director, has said.