Thousands of citizens could lose health coverage, face new risks to their health and face other obstacles if the GOP and President Donald Trump successfully undo Barack Obama’s signature healthcare legislation, city leaders from across the country warned Wednesday.
More than 100 mayors, including Mayor Jim Kenney, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, signed a bipartisan letter to congressional leaders urging them to save the Affordable Care Act (ACA), widely known as Obamacare.
Philly has 220,000 residents currently on Obamacare, roughly one-sixth of the city’s population. Mayor de Blasio said in New York City there are 2 million who could lose coverage if a repeal goes through.
“We must send a resounding message to Washington: that is unacceptable,” de Blasio said. “Power doesn’t reside in Washington, D.C. alone. It’s in every city and town in America.”
Beyond the insured, a repeal of Obamacare would also hurt Philadelphia’s Department of Health, which receives $7.7 million in funding through the ACA for such purposes as immunizing infants against diseases like meningitis and preventing lead poisoning.
“The ACA protects everyone in Philadelphia, insured or not, from a wide range public health threats,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “Wecan’tafford to repeal it.”
Without the ACA, Philly will also have to cut significant mental health and substance abuse programs.
“It would be terribly disheartening to witness thousands of people lose access to vital behavioral health services,” said David Jones, acting commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, “especially at a time when our city and nation is battling an opioid epidemic that is tearing families and communities apart and ending countless lives.”
Congressional Republicans and the president are reportedly working toward a full repeal of Obamacare, but the exact timeline for when the repeal will take effect remains fuzzy.
By the numbers
Philadelphians insured under Obamacare
on ACA Marketplace
ACA funding to Philly Department of Health that could be lost
Source: Mayor’s Office