LETTER TO THE EDITOR

S.C. Baptist Convention opposes American health care act

Posted

On Thursday, May 4, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly won passage of the American Health Care Act - a bill that has the potential to transform this nation's health insurance system and create a new slate of winners and losers.

The Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina is the state's largest black religious body, and it strongly opposes the plan.

We urge members to aggressively notify U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster and other state leaders of our opposition to this bill.

There has been significant opposition and concern from provider and consumer groups across the country, including the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Association of Retired Persons. The heart of the opposition involves the potential impact this bill would have on health insurance coverages and costs for the most vulnerable populations.

The bill's effect is written to increase inequality to make the rich even richer. It's not a "health plan," it's a "wealth plan" on behalf of the already wealthy. The bill is filled with tax cuts for the rich.

This bill would have a disproportionately negative impact on older Americans and those with pre-existing conditions due to the allowance of states to drastically reduce coverages and benefits by an opt-out clause.

The bill is expected to roll back the expansion of the Medicaid program to substantially reduce subsidies available for Americans just over the poverty line.

We, a body of men and women of faith, are committed to ministering to the social, spiritual and physical development of all people, and find it our responsibility to advocate for our constituents and the American public in general.

DR. JAMES BLASSINGAME

President, SCBC