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Proposed healthcare bill withdrawn before the House votes (and why the discussion on healthcare in the U.S. needs to continue)

Yesterday, we wrote about the delayed vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in hopes that the postponement of the decision would be cause for further discussion on the importance of diabetes and prediabetes. As we said before, diabetes (and by extension prediabetes) is the public health challenge of our generation, and policymakers would be wise to consider the implications of diabetes both for individuals and in terms of overall cost for the country.

We awoke this morning to find that the proposed bill had been changed. Essential health benefits, including preventive services (which are crucial to help slow the growing “avalanche” of type 2 diabetes), were no longer guaranteed coverage – it would now be up to each state to decide what counted as essential; and a new vote was slated for the afternoon, with the President indicating an ultimatum: Pass the AHCA today or not at all. We watched the live-stream from the House of Representatives here in our San Francisco office, only to find that, at the very last minute, the proposed bill was withdrawn, lacking the support that it would have needed to pass.

This is a small, but crucial, victory for diabetes. The healthcare discussion is far from over, and we continue to urge consideration of the ways that the Affordable Care Act can be improved, to further promote affordability, quality care for chronic conditions, and preventive services, but we are relieved to see that the House did not approve a bill that would have led millions to lose coverage, raised premiums for people in their 50s and 60s, and threatened the availability of essential preventive services.