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American Diabetes Association Opposes Senate Vote to Proceed With Affordable Care Act Repeal Without Immediate Replacement

Following is a statement from the American Diabetes Association (January 12, 2017):

On behalf of the nearly 30 million Americans living with diabetes and the 86 million more with prediabetes, the American Diabetes Association (Association) is extremely disappointed the U.S. Senate voted overnight to pass a budget resolution that sets up a process to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a plan to simultaneously replace the law.

The ACA provides numerous health insurance protections for people with, and at risk for, diabetes and has greatly improved access to adequate and affordable health insurance. The ACA ended fundamental inequities in access to health insurance that separated Americans with diabetes from the tools they needed in the fight against the horrific and costly complications of diabetes including blindness, amputation, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke-and death.

Congress cannot take people with diabetes back to a time when they could be routinely denied health insurance or forced to pay exorbitant premiums simply because they have diabetes; when treatment for preexisting conditions like diabetes could be excluded from coverage; and when people could find their insurance coverage was no longer available just when they needed it most. Seniors with diabetes on Medicare are counting on Congress not to take them back to a time when they had to pay for 100 percent of their drug costs while in the Part D donut hole. Low income Americans-including 11 million adults eligible for Medicaid as a result of the ACA-are counting on Congress not to take away their Medicaid eligibility.

It’s not just individuals who buy health insurance in the individual market who have benefitted. People with employer-based health insurance now have access to numerous preventive services with no cost sharing, are protected from annual and lifetime dollar limits on most benefits, and can keep their adult children on their health plans until age 26 as a result of the ACA. The repeal of the ACA with no clear replacement in sight will lead to the end of these benefits that have been a lifeline for so many Americans.

Congress should not risk critical gains made under the ACA for people with diabetes and other preexisting conditions without simultaneously enacting a replacement plan that maintains or improves access to comprehensive, affordable health coverage. Repealing the ACA without simultaneously replacing it is irresponsible and will greatly harm Americans with diabetes and the U.S. health care system.

We are committed to ensuring that the millions of Americans with diabetes have access to affordable, quality health care and will continue to advocate on their behalf.