Governor reaffirms commitment to high-quality, affordable health coverage in RI
PROVIDENCE, RI – After outlining how the healthcare proposal released earlier this month by congressional Republicans would leave behind the elderly, low-income Rhode Islanders and families throughout the state, Governor Gina M. Raimondo reiterated her pledge today to work to ensure access to high-quality, affordable health coverage for all Rhode Islanders.

“TrumpCare would mean less coverage, fewer protections, and higher costs for all Rhode Islanders, and worse yet, some of the most vulnerable communities in our state would be hurt the most,” said Governor Raimondo. “Every day when I am out in the community, I hear from more Rhode Islanders who are worried about what this plan means for them and their families. What I tell them is what I’ve been saying since November–that we will stand up and fight for Rhode Islanders to make sure that no matter what happens at the federal level, people in our state have access to the care they need.”

Members of Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation have affirmed their commitment to ensuring that Rhode Islanders have access to quality, affordable healthcare.

“Under the leadership of Governor Raimondo, our state health care exchange is providing Rhode Islanders with good, affordable health care plans,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Neighborhood Health Plan has reduced premiums. Our leading primary care doctors are reducing costs and serving patients better. I have heard from countless Rhode Islanders who depend on the law for coverage and health care providers who are worried about what Trumpcare means for their patients and their practices. Jamming Trumpcare through will jeopardize the health and economic security of hard-working Rhode Islanders, all to give the ultra-wealthy another tax cut.”

“Tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders will lose health coverage if the Republican-led American Health Care Act becomes law,” Congressman Jim Langevin said. “Instead of strengthening the ACA in a bipartisan manner, Republicans are trying to pass a bill that will place health care entirely out of reach for Rhode Island families, children, seniors and people with disabilities.”

The Accordable Care Act is working in Rhode Island. The uninsured rate in Rhode Island has dropped from nearly 12% in 2012 to 4.2% today. Expanded access to Medicaid has resulted in coverage for approximately 70,000 adults who previously did not have coverage. More than 30,000 Rhode Islanders are insured through HealthSource RI, 90% of whom have receive federal subsidies to make their coverage more affordable.

TrumpCare in Rhode Island would:

* Put health insurance coverage for more than 70,000 people at risk;
* Increase costs for older adults buying standard coverage through HealthSource RI by as much as $3,700 per year;
* Put as many as 8,000 Rhode Island jobs at risk;
* Eliminate $8 million a year in federal funding for public health work; and
* Put treatment for 2,500 people with opioid-use disorder at risk.

Governor Raimondo was joined today by Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Anya Rader Wallack, HealthSource RI Director Zach Sherman, Health Insurance Commissioner Kathleen C. Hittner, MD, and Providence residents Ellie Brown, an artist and educator who receives health coverage through the Medicaid Expansion that occurred as a part of the Affordable Care Act, and John Jacobson, who credits the ACA as executed in Rhode Island with saving his life and who worries that he will no longer be able to afford leukemia medication if the ACA is repealed.

“Before the ACA, I worried about gaining access to healthcare,” said Brown. “In the past I had seen a therapist and psychiatrist, and my anxiety was a pre-existing condition. That paired with my socioeconomic status made buying health insurance prohibitive. I am scared that as a female artist and educator in my 40s with nothing but part-time work, I’m not going to be able to see my doctor, access preventative medicine, or get prescriptions to keep my anxiety under control with the losses and cuts that come with TrumpCare.”

“When I was at my darkest hour, Rhode Island stood by me and brought me back to health and I will never forget that,” Jacobson said. “This would not have been possible without the passage of the Affordable Care Act. I urge Congress to work on making the ACA better with a focus on reducing costs.”

In addition to discussing the impacts on individual Rhode Islanders of the new health insurance proposal, Dr. Alexander-Scott discussed the benefits of the Affordable Care Act in Rhode Island.

“The Affordable Care Act has meant expanded access in Rhode Island to the kind of preventive services and care that are central to our work to ensure that no person’s health depends on his or her zip code, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, level of education, or level of income,” Dr. Alexander-Scott said. “Funding through the Affordable Care Act supports a wide range of vital public health initiatives, including work in the areas of lead poisoning prevention, immunization, tobacco control, sexual violence prevention, and disease surveillance. All of this work has real, tangible impacts on people’s lives here in Rhode Island, and we will absolutely fight to make sure that it is maintained.”