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5 reactions from healthcare groups to the GOP's revised AHCA bill

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Republicans recently revealed an amendment to the American Health Care Act.

Here are five reactions from leaders of healthcare organizations.

Diane Horvath-Cosper, MD, advocacy fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health, in an emailed statement, said she does not support the revised healthcare bill.

“This new proposed ACA repeal bill has the same dangerous ingredients as the reckless bill that failed in Congress a month ago in the wake of vocal, widespread opposition from patients across the county. It will still put comprehensive reproductive healthcare out of reach for millions of women, especially low-income women, by attacking Medicaid, Planned Parenthood and abortion coverage,” she said. “On top of that, this new bill goes further by allowing states to opt out of providing protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, making premiums impossibly out of reach for these patients. It’s reprehensible that any of our elected officials would vote to reduce Americans’ healthcare coverage, and it’s just bad leadership to keep trying to pass such flawed bills.”

James Madara, MD, CEO and executive vice president of the American Medical Association, penned a letter to House leaders, indicating the AMA’s opposition to the revised healthcare bill.

“As we have previously stated, we are deeply concerned that the AHCA would result in millions of Americans losing their current health insurance coverage. Nothing in the MacArthur amendment remedies the shortcomings of the underlying bill. The amendment does not offer a clear long-term framework for stabilizing and strengthening the individual health insurance market to ensure that low and moderate income patients are able to secure affordable and adequate coverage, nor does it ensure that Medicaid and other critical safety net programs are maintained and adequately funded,” Dr. Madara wrote.

Margaret Murray, CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, said in an emailed statement the ACAP remains opposed to the AHCA.

“This revived effort to pass a fundamentally flawed bill does not address the basic threat that the American Health Care Act poses to the health coverage of millions of Americans. Over the next 10 years, the bill would cut funding for Medicaid by more than $800 billion and phase out the enhanced federal funding match for the Medicaid expansion,” she said. “This would degrade access to services for the 70 million-plus people who rely on Medicaid for effective health coverage. This, combined with changes in Marketplace-based coverage would result in the loss of health coverage for up to 24 million Americans, according to the most recent estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.”

Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, said in a statement the amendment “continues to put health coverage in jeopardy for many Americans.”

“Our top concern is what this change could mean for older and sicker patients, including those with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer patients and those with chronic conditions. For these reasons, along with our previously stated concerns about the AHCA, we cannot support the bill. However, we urge Congress to continue to work with stakeholders on a solution that provides meaningful coverage,” Mr. Pollack said. “The amendment proposed this week would dramatically worsen the bill. The changes included put consumer protections at greater risk by allowing states to waive the essential health benefit standards, which could leave patients without access to critical health services and increase out-of-pocket spending. This could allow plans to set premium prices based on individual risk for some consumers, which could significantly raise costs for those with pre-existing conditions. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office has not yet scored the amendment. However, CBO previously projected that the AHCA would result in 24 million fewer people covered in 2026. It is unlikely this amendment would improve these coverage estimates.”

Bruce Siegel, MD, President and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals, said in a statement the amendment does not improve upon the AHCA, which was pulled from the House floor last month.

“The amendment now being considered would threaten basic healthcare benefits and important consumer protections. Worse, these changes are expected to add to the already staggering total of 24 million additional uninsured people under the AHCA,” Dr. Siegel said. “This latest version of the AHCA is not an improvement. It’s simply bad policy that will cut a lifeline of healthcare for millions of Americans. The legislation also would leave unchanged more than $800 billion in Medicaid cuts over the next decade, breaking the nation’s safety net and saddling states, local governments and taxpayers with new costs for indigent care.”

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