The American health care system continues a process of historic, comprehensive reform begun with passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, with each passing year bringing new milestones in the areas of coverage expansion, cost control and quality improvement; and
More than eight million individuals gained coverage through one of the new private insurance marketplaces during the ACA’s initial enrollment period earlier this year, with 80 percent of them eligible for tax credits to help make the purchase of coverage more affordable; and
More than three million young adults can now remain on their parents’ health plans through age 26, and additional millions have already benefitted from the law’s new access to preventive services and the elimination of pre-existing conditions as an obstacle to coverage; and
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that the federal cost of the ACA is much less than previously expected, estimated now to be 12 percent lower this year and 7 percent lower over the next decade; and
The CBO now estimates that the federal government will pick up more than 95 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion over the next decade, compared to the current 57 percent average federal contribution to the cost of traditional Medicaid; making Medicaid expansion under the ACA an extraordinarily sound fiscal choice for states; and
As a work in progress, the ACA is not perfect and must be improved to eliminate the excise tax on high cost plans, which is scheduled to take effect in 2018 and will gradually constrain benefits in many plans. The law’s employer responsibility provisions must be strengthened to prevent unscrupulous employers from reducing work hours of some full-time employees to avoid paying a penalty for failing to provide coverage; and
The opponents of the ACA continue to fight the law at the federal level by introducing legislation to weaken it, at the state level by blocking Medicaid expansion in 24 states and at the electoral level by launching a campaign of public misinformation about the ACA designed to hurt lawmakers who support the law at the polls.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
That AFSCME will work to implement the ACA in a manner that preserves the law’s three-part goal of coverage expansion, cost control and quality improvements, while protecting our members’ health benefits, which remain a hallmark of good union jobs. Central to these efforts will be eliminating the excise tax on high cost health plans, strengthening employer responsibility provisions and adding a public option for coverage; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
That AFSCME and its affiliates will defend the ACA and support efforts to fully implement the coverage expansion made possible under the law and shall oppose efforts to repeal the law and return control of our health care system to the insurance industry.
SUBMITTED BY: Douglas Moore, Executive Director and Delegate
Gerald Brooks Ashby, Delegate
UDW/AFSCME Local 3930