January 4th, 2016
To Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan, and Representative Young,
We are a group of University of Alaska students, faculty and friends of the UA community across the political, social, regional, and economic spectra. On behalf of the University of Alaska community, we urge you to please release the details of the health care law which will serve to replace the Affordable Care Act before you vote to repeal it. While repeal of the Affordable Care Act may be a priority for the incoming administration, a failure to effectively replace the law in a timely manner could be disastrous for the thousands of Alaskans who depend on this law for their health care.
Repealing the ACA without an effective replacement will strip over 62,000 Alaskans of their health coverage, a 53% increase in the number of uninsured Alaskans. Alaskans will also lose over $3 billion in federal financial assistance to cover healthcare costs. This includes the over 16,000 Alaskans who will lose an average monthly advance premium tax credit of $750 per month, and strip away $1.3 billion in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program funding, which helps over 160,000 Alaskans pay for healthcare.
The unfortunate fact of the matter is that a repeal without a replacement will disproportionately affect young professionals and students. We personally know so many students that delay vital medical care due to the stress of classes, work, and family. Through the ACA, many students are able to access medical insurance under their parent's plan until the age of 26. Other students are able to buy health insurance at reduced cost through the exchange and subsidy program, or through Medicaid expansion. On top of bills and student loans, a repeal without a clear plan for replacement destroys our ability to plan for our future. With Alaska currently grappling with low oil prices and a recession, now is not the time to add more uncertainty to the lives of young and working class Alaskans.
A rushed repeal of this law would have a drastic impact on many Alaskans, and every day a replacement isn’t law will continue to compound the problem. Please do not gamble with the safety and economic stability of millions of Americans, and tens of thousands of Alaskans in order to score political points. We cannot plan for our future: where we will live and work, if we don’t know how we will get the health insurance coverage we need. We urge you to please act responsibly in the coming weeks and produce a clear plan.