Study Shows Rural Healthcare Will Face Harsh Blow If Republican ACHA Plan Advances

AS LAWMAKERS CONTINUE TO MULL OVER HEALTH CARE LEGISLATION, EXPERTS CONTINUE TO CONSIDER THE POSSIBLE OUTCOME.

IN A NEWLY RELEASED REPORT, THE CENTER ON BUDGET AND POLICY PRIORITIES IS TAKING A CLOSE LOOK AT THE EFFECT THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT WOULD HAVE ON RURAL COMMUNITIES IN PARTICULAR.
AN EXPERT FROM THE ORGANIZATION TELLS US THE GOP'S PLAN WILL DELIVER A MASSIVE BLOW TO RURAL ALASKANS.

"Alaska would face a perfect storm under the house-passed bill."

The controversy continues. Questions remain over the health care bill passed in the House earlier this month. Jesse Cross-Call from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says medicaid expansion will take a big hit under the legislation.

"These are seniors. These are people with disabilities. These are children. These are pregnant women. And their coverage would be at risk due to the cuts in the House bill."

In his new report, Cross-Call says under the AHCA the burden for Alaska would shift from taking care of 10 percent of the cost to about 50 percent by 2020. He says with Alaska's budgetary issues, that's just not feasible.

"40 percent of Alaskans who gained coverage over the expansion live in rural communities and Medicaid has always been a lifeline for rural Alaska. Expansion has only made it that much more of a lifeline."

"Proponents of the GOP legislation say it's cutting down on excessive funding. Ed Haislmaier from the conservative Heritage Foundation says the Medicaid expansion went too far."

"Able-bodied adults have other options. They can get jobs. They can work."

He says it is difficult for Alaska to cut down on expensive health care because of the geography. He says no matter the legislation, it's difficult to get enough health care providers in a vast state.

"It's one of those tradeoffs in where you live. I mean you get gorgeous views and the wonderful outdoors, but you're miles and miles from the nearest hospital."

The health care bill currently sits in the Senate's hands. The timeline for that legislation is currently up in the air.