Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, and Joe Messina, communications director for the 38th Republican Central Committee.

Hill, Messina speak on consequences of potential Affordable Care Act repeal

Rep. Katie Hill used a recent House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing to speak about the consequences should the Affordable Care Act be repealed without a replacement.

“If this administration succeeds in using stacked courts to repeal the health care of millions of Americans, (then) an estimated 60,000 individuals in our community alone will lose coverage,” Hill, D-Agua Dulce, said in the hearing.

“On top of that, millions of Americans battling substance use disorder will lose access to treatment,” which would exacerbate the worst public health crisis in the country’s history, Hill said. “We can’t let that happen.”

Hill added, “When I speak to people in our district — whether they’re community health centers and clinics, physicians and nurses, hospital associations, or patient groups — I hear, by and large, that we must focus on increasing access to critical services like treatment centers, not decreasing those services and incentives.”

Joe Messina, communications director for the 38th Republican Central Committee, disagreed with Hill’s stance that the ACA is helpful in the fight against opioid treatment, but still agreed with the congresswoman’s stance that lawmakers should avoid repealing the Affordable Care Act without having a proper replacement.

“The ACA made no dent in the opioid crisis whatsoever,” Messina said in an interview Monday, adding, “If the Affordable Care Act was working so well and helping the opioid epidemic, then why do we have such an opioid epidemic?”

A lot of opioid users don’t have money to begin with, Messina said, adding that premiums in some states across the country have tripled. “So, you’re still negatively affected because, even if you have the ACA, you can’t afford the care.”

Messina said he believes lawmakers already have an idea of a proper plan.

“They just have to sit down and be willing to fight for it,” he said.

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