Open Letter to Congress on American Health Care Act

Dear congressional legislators –

As a faith-based non-profit serving over 4,200 men, women and children collectively in MD, VA and the District of Columbia, Volunteers of America Chesapeake is concerned about mental health, addictions services and caring for the intellectual/developmentally disabled population in your jurisdiction. We urge you to oppose the American Health Care Act and preserve Medicaid in the 115th Congress.

Medicaid is the single largest payer of mental health, addiction treatment services, and for the intellectual/developmentally disabled citizens in the country. CBO projects that if this bill passes, 14 million people who rely on Medicaid will not get the lifesaving care they need and instead, many will end up homeless, in jail or dead.

By rolling back Medicaid expansion and converting the program into a per capita cap system, the AHCA shifts more than $880 billion to already cashed-strapped states. With less federal investment, states could cut provider payments, eliminate optional services like behavioral health care, or restrict eligibility for certain beneficiaries, barring persons with a serious mental illness or chronic addiction from the care they need.

In short, approving the American Health Care Act would leave millions without access to needed treatment and care in our state and communities. The latest version of the bill, unveiled just last night, does nothing to mitigate the harmful effects on individuals living with mental illness, addiction or living in a supported environment as a developmentally disabled citizen.  Please work with your colleagues to protect our nation’s most vulnerable patient population and preserve their access to treatment.

Thank you for your hard work and consideration of this important matter.

Russell's Signature

–Russell K. Snyder,  President and CEO of Volunteers of America Chesapeake


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