American Medical Association Comes Out Against GOP Health Care Bill

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Views

The nation’s largest advocacy group for doctors has joined several other health care organizations in voicing its opposition to the House GOP’s Obamacare replacement proposal.

In a letter dated Tuesday to the two House committees currently reviewing separate aspects of the replacement proposal – Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce – the AMA wrote that “[w]hile we agree that there are problems with the [Affordable Care Act] that must be addressed, we cannot support the [American Health Care Act] as drafted because of the expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations.”

The group wrote that it supported tax credits to pay for health insurance, which the ACHA uses, but that “credits should be inversely related to an individual’s income,” rather than based on age, the primary variable in the House GOP’s plan.

In addition, the letter said, changes to Medicaid – freezing the expansion authorized by Obamacare, and eventually, turning the program into a per capita block grant to the states – “threaten to force states to limit coverage and increase the number of uninsured.”

Changes to the Public Health and Prevention Fund risked cutting off funding to critical research projects, it said, and eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood would “prevent Americans from choosing to receive care from physicians and other qualified providers.”

“We encourage you to ensure that low and moderate income Americans will be able to secure affordable and adequate coverage and that Medicaid, [the Children’s Health Insurance Program], and other safety net programs are maintained and adequately funded,” the letter concluded. “And critically, we urge you to do all that is possible to ensure that those who are currently covered do not become uninsured.”

The AMA came under fire from some of its members for its endorsement of current secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price.

Responding to the criticism, the AMA said: “[T]here are policy matters on which we have agreed with Dr. Price, and issues such as the passage of the Affordable Care Act, where we disagreed. A constant over the years has been Dr. Price’s interest in a dialogue on how to strengthen the ability of physicians to serve their patients.”

The AMA joined other health care organizations that have voiced concerns about the proposal to replace Obamacare.

On Tuesday, the American Hospital Association, a major group that represents nearly 5,000 hospitals, wrote to members of Congress that it “cannot support The American Health Care Act in its current form.”

Without a complete analysis from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the group said, “we urge that Congress should wait until an estimate is available before proceeding with formal consideration” of the proposal.

And, according to Bloomberg, the CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, a trade group that represents more than 1,000 investor-owned and managed hospitals, said Wednesday that “[w]e want to make sure that whatever comes out of this change really supports particularly those low-income Americans, who frankly don’t have the resources to afford coverage.”

In a letter to Congress dated Tuesday, the group said it had “significant issues” with the proposal as it is currently drafted.

Read the AMA’s letter below:

This post has been updated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK