Two days after the incoming House majority scheduled a vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the secretaries of three federal agencies urged new House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to consider the act's accomplishments and the negatives consequences that would result from dissolving it.
In a letter to Boehner, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said the cost of health insurance coverage in the last decade more than doubled, leaving families, businesses, and entire industries to face steadily rising premiums. And when President Barack Obama took office two years ago, the secretaries wrote, 50 million people had no health insurance and tens of millions more Americans had an illness or injury that insurance companies could use as an excuse to increase rates, limit their coverage, or drop them from plans.
"The Affordable Care Act has begun to address these challenges by giving Americans more freedom in their healthcare choices," the letter said. "It offers choices to families who need healthcare for their children, to small businesses that want to offer health insurance to attract the best employees, to older Americans who now can count on Medicare for more affordable prescription drugs, and to all Americans who need preventive care and portability in their healthcare insurance coverage if they need to change jobs."
Focusing primarily on health insurance coverage, the letter also listed strengthening the Medicare program and improving Americans' overall health—through investments in preventive and primary care—as the act's accomplishments.
"If the Affordable Care Act were repealed as some have proposed, the individuals we have heard from plus the millions of families, seniors, other individuals, and small businesses already helped would lose this support and these protections," the secretaries wrote, adding that they urge Boehner to consider what the law has done to improve the health and financial security of many Americans.
Earlier this week, House Republicans said they will vote on a repeal of the ACA on Jan. 12.