Dear President Elect Trump and Congressional Members of the Senate and House:
This is an open, bipartisan letter, written by those of us who provide, advocate for, and require health care. Among us are doctors, nurses, lawyers, social workers, advocates, students and caregivers who have worked with thousands of patients since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). What unites us is care for the American people for whom a single act of Congress will mean the difference between life, serious illness, and possible death.
Before the ACA, millions of Americans, some even as infants, were unable to obtain or maintain coverage due to pre-existing conditions and lifetime maximum limits. Altogether, over 47 million Americans were uninsured. For our patients, we have watched this to mean the difference between paying for treatment or losing their homes and entire life savings. For others, it meant foregoing treatment altogether and having to rely solely on emergency care. Collectively, we have witnessed patients with conditions like congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, asthma and mental health disorders unnecessarily suffer from inadequate access to primary care. And in many other, cases we have seen resultant strokes, heart disease, kidney disease or failure, blindness, loss of limb, heart attacks and other organ damage, all due to a lack of access to preventative care.
Empirically, it is undisputed that lacking comprehensive access to health care causes morbidity and mortality and results in a far greater expenditures of treatment resources and costs. Ethically, we believe that not providing adequate access to quality, affordable, healthcare for all Americans is simply immoral. Accordingly, we are gravely concerned about allegations of the ACA’s imminent repeal and are advocating that you utilize your responsibility as entrusted public servants to ensure that the lives of American children, families, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens are not left without quality access to health care.
The ACA and its implementing regulations have also provided critical protections against gender, racial, disability, and sexual orientation based discrimination; mandated maximum out of pocket costs; as well as preventative coverage for mammograms, pap smears, and vaccines. Albeit the law, as every law, would benefit from an iterative process of improvements, it is imperative that any intended replacement must not fall below the basic benefits and protections the ACA already provides.
President Elect Trump and Member of Congress, we ask you these questions: What do you want your legacy to be? Do you want to be remembered as the politician whose party allegiance superseded morality at the cost of the quality of the health of millions of Americans? Or do you want to be remembered as the leader of your respective constituents who rose above partisan politics, acted for the greater good of the people, embodied the true role of a politician - to be public servant - and from today until the day you leave office, voiced these concerns and voted to further improve our health care to leave this world a better place than the way you found it? Your legacy will be carried on to your children. Make them proud of what you did at this crucial time in American history, not ashamed that they are your children.
Trevor Wilson M.D.
Emergency Department Physician
Marina Pantchenko, Esq.
Disability Rights Attorney