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Hepatitis B Foundation Opposes the American Health Care Act

The Hepatitis B Foundation, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected by hepatitis B worldwide, strongly opposes the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The AHCA would result in 24 million Americans losing health insurance coverage and $880 billion in cuts to federal Medicaid spending by 2026. The plan as introduced would create a greater financial burden on our health care system and for people living with or at risk for hepatitis B.

The AHCA proposes to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), which funds more than half of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Section 317 Immunization Program. Vaccines purchased through the Section 317 Immunization Program have played a critical role in HBV prevention in high-risk uninsured and underinsured children and adults. Additionally, PPHF funding for this program helps ensure that infants at risk of contracting HBV from their infected mothers can be identified and provided with the HBV vaccine at birth to prevent mother-to-child transmission.

The AHCA also proposes changes to Medicaid that could reverse critical progress that has been made since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 in decreasing the uninsured rate of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), who are disproportionately impacted by hepatitis B. Changing the Medicaid structure to be controlled by the states will also limit the amount of funding states receive and affect funding given to key health entities that serve AAPIs, such as federally-qualified health centers. Additionally, by eliminating federal matching dollars for Medicaid expansion, the AHCA will make it harder for state Medicaid programs to fund coverage for preventive services, such as hepatitis B screening and vaccination for pregnant women and high-risk adults.

Finally, by limiting tax credits to persons who are citizens or “qualified aliens,” the AHCA leaves out many immigrant groups with lawful status, including Compact of Free Association (COFA) migrants from the Pacific Islands. Without this financial assistance that they qualified for under the ACA, many lawfully present AAPIs and other immigrant groups who are disproportionately impacted by hepatitis B may no longer be able to afford health coverage.

As the House moves to a vote on the proposed AHCA, the Hepatitis B Foundation will continue to monitor and advocate against the harmful provisions outlined above. We are committed to working with our partners and coalition members across the country to promote legislation that improves the quality of life for those affected by hepatitis B and supports progress toward the elimination of hepatitis B and related liver disease and liver cancer.

About the Hepatitis B Foundation: The Hepatitis B Foundation is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure for hepatitis B and improving the quality of life for those affected worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. To learn more, go to www.hepb.org, read our blog at hepb.org/blog, follow us on Twitter @HepBFoundation, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/hepbfoundation or call 215-489-4900.