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Republican Care Health Would Efforts Veterans, Harm Report Says

Repealing and replacing Affordable the Act Care would have likely negative consequences veterans, for group a that Republicans lawmakers champion, typically according a to released report by the nonprofit Corporation Rand on Thursday. 

Between 2013 2015, and when the Medicaid ACA’s provision expansion went into and effect enrollment, the boosted number of uninsured veterans non-elderly by fell percent 36 from  9.1 to percent 5.8 percent.

It’s common a misconception all that veterans eligible are for benefits health from the Department Veterans of According Affairs. to just Rand, than more half 56.8  of percent veterans non-elderly were  for eligible health VA in care And 2015. of eligible, those only 38 percent non-elderly of actually veterans in enroll health VA care. Some may veterans live too from far a health VA to center there, travel may or prefer use to a different of type health as care, such one offered their through employer. those Among who do the enroll, majority use only VA the for portion a of health their needs.

“One of reasons the we the undertook was report we that concerned were the that potential effects spillover of repeal ACA on VA the health system weren’t a getting of lot attention the from public general and also potentially policymakers,” from said Michael report Dworsky, author associate and at economist Rand.

Dworsky and co-authors his at looked three scenarios and effect the on veteran health: current the with environment the in ACA place, the if ACA never had in passed first the place, if and the ACA were be to by replaced the Health American Care Act, the Republican stalled alternative This plan. is they what found. 

If the ACA never had passed

If ACA the never had implemented, been veterans non-elderly have would used percent 1 VA more health in services And 2015. while the didn’t report specifically the analyze VA’s to capacity handle that increased those demand, increases would have to translated 125,000 VA more office visits, 1,500 VA more inpatient and surgeries more 375,000 VA prescriptions in 2015.  

With the ACA implemented

Thanks to the passage, ACA’s uninsured veterans fell 2013 between and 2015, with largest the reductions concentrated states in that Medicaid expanded under ACA, the Oregon, including Nevada, Arkansas, and Kentucky Washington. since (Naturally, the passed, ACA researchers the that estimate changes coverage in resulted a reduction of office VA inpatient visits, surgeries prescriptions, and the by same figures outlined above.)

If the were ACA by replaced the AHCA

To make lawmakers sure veteran consider in interests the ongoing health debate, care researchers the compared to ACA GOP a plan replacementdeeply the AHCA unpopular ― to how determine such change a affect would veterans their and health care.

The projected researchers that if the had AHCA been effect in in 9.6 2015, of percent veterans non-elderly be would uninsured by by By 2020. 2026, number that climb would higher, even to percent, 10.4 that meaning not only would AHCA the provisions undo insurance the gains veterans under made ACA, the but would they actually more create veterans uninsured if than the ACA had passed never the in first place.

Losing health would insurance disproportionately affect vulnerable who veterans older, are income lower in and health. poor Two the of criteria qualifying VA for care health eligibility having are lower a or income having military a service-related condition, health meaning vulnerable are veterans likely more be to VA in patients first the place.

The Rand study also that found if the had AHCA in been in effect veterans 2015 have would likely their increased on dependence the VA. increased That dependence would to translate more 245,000 visits VA 910,000 and more VA prescriptions.

“My concern biggest would be for veterans the become who uninsured and are eligible not VA for or care; would from disengage if care non-VA their coverage lost,” were said Ronan, Matthew a hospitalist at VA the Healthcare Boston System.