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AMA Vision on Health Reform

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The AMA has long advocated for health insurance coverage for all Americans, as well as pluralism, freedom of choice, freedom of practice and universal access for patients. The same core principles and priorities will guide future AMA advocacy efforts regarding health care reform proposals that are central to our mission of improving public health.

AMA Opposes Passage of Health Reform Proposals

On September 19, the AMA sent a letter to the Senate opposing the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Amendment to H.R. 1628, the “American Health Care Act of 2017.” The amendment, which was not adopted, would have resulted in millions of Americans losing their health insurance coverage, destabilized health insurance markets and decreased access to affordable coverage and care. The AMA was also concerned that this proposal would have converted the Medicaid program into a system that limits federal support for needy patients through a predetermined formula based on per-capita-caps, and that this block grant to states would have been inadequately funded.

On June 22, the Senate leadership released a discussion draft of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017,” legislation that would repeal and replace several major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Senate’s discussion draft fails to meet the AMA’s core principles on health system reform that include ensuring that individuals currently covered do not become uninsured and taking steps toward coverage and access for all Americans including the ability for low- and moderate-income patients to be able to secure affordable and adequate coverage. Read the AMA’s letter to Congress on June 26. Listen to the NPR interview with AMA President David O. Barbe, MD, MHA.

On May 4, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) (H.R. 1628) on a largely party-line vote of 217-213. If the AHCA were to become law, millions of Americans would lose health insurance coverage, and the safety net provided by Medicaid would be severely eroded. 

The AMA strongly opposed House passage. The AMA's letter to Congress on April 27 urged Representatives to oppose the bill, reiterating concerns that millions of Americans would lose their current health care insurance coverage. The AMA previously expressed their chief concerns to Congress on March 22 and March 7. Read the AMA statement after the bill passed the House of Representatives.

In a January letter to Congressional leaders and the incoming Administration, the AMA reaffirmed its strong vision for America’s health system and our belief that the patient remain at the center of all reform efforts. The AMA is committed to working with leadership in both parties to improve health insurance coverage and health care access so that patients receive timely, high-quality care, preventive services, medications and other necessary treatments.

Patient-physician roundtable-Atlanta

Patients and physicians shared their thoughts about health care at a roundtable hosted by the AMA.

2017 Health Care Reform Objectives

The AMA views the discussions about the future of health reform through its mission dedicated to the betterment of public health, medical ethics, scientific evidence and long-standing policies adopted by representatives from over 190 physician organizations. The AMA's health care reform objectives highlight key elements that will guide the AMA in upcoming discussions with Congress and the Trump Administration.

  • Ensure that individuals currently covered do not become uninsured and take steps toward coverage and access for all Americans.
  • Maintain key insurance market reforms, such as pre-existing conditions, guaranteed issue and parental coverage for young adults.
  • Stabilize and strengthen the individual insurance market.
  • Ensure that low/moderate income patients are able to secure affordable and adequate coverage.
  • Ensure that Medicaid, CHIP and other safety net programs are adequately funded.
  • Reduce regulatory burdens that detract from patient care and increase costs.
  • Provide greater cost transparency throughout the health care system.
  • Incorporate common sense medical liability reforms.
  • Continue the advancement of delivery reforms and new physician-led payment models to achieve better outcomes, higher quality and lower spending trends.

The AMA Council on Medical Service evaluates the social and economic aspects of medical care. Read its reports on health care reform.

Explore the AMA policy series, Improving the Health Insurance Marketplace, for details on topics and actions that promote a strong health insurance market that benefits both patients and physicians.

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