AHCA will hurt our community

To the editor:

Our country’s health care system is in the midst of a massive upheaval. Never before have we witnessed such challenges that will impact both the type of care our community receives and the ability of our local hospital to continue providing the high-quality care that we know each of you have come to expect from our physicians, nurses and staff.

As you may be aware, politicians in Washington, DC are considering a healthcare reform bill called the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This bill seeks to completely transform how we deliver care to you, but unfortunately, as it is currently being considered, not for the better. If passed in its current form, our local economy, as well as that of our state and country, will suffer. And our hospital, a bedrock of our community, will see severe negative effects.

Specifically, the House AHCA, as it stands, will have catastrophic effects on families, children, elderly and disabled individuals who depend on our hospital for care. It is projected to leave 23 million Americans without access to affordable healthcare coverage – many of whom live right here in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Without coverage, many of these community members will be left without access to the healthcare services they need to live healthy and productive lives. The bill could also mean significant jobs lost in both our hospital and in our community. Total job losses across the country could total nearly one million, with an estimated 50,800 across Michigan. And these effects will undoubtedly ripple into our community. The overall impact of the AHCA on our local economy would be devastating and felt for many years to come.

Our hope is that the U.S. Senate, which is currently considering this bill, will find a bipartisan solution that will have long-term durability so our patients have continued access to affordable care and our community can thrive.

We encourage every member of our community to contact Sen. Gary Peters or Sen. Debbie Stabenow and let them know the importance health care access and coverage has for you, your family and our community. Tell them that you deserve access to quality and affordable health care and that this bill, including Medicaid cuts currently under consideration, could have a detrimental impact on you and your community for many years to come.

Health care should be protected, and it is up to us to make sure that it is.

Jeff Lang

Timothy Baroni

UP Health

System-Portage

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