CHICAGO — Citing projections that millions of Americans would lose health insurance coverage if the American Health Care Act (AHCA) were to become law, the American Medical Association (AMA) today urged Members of Congress to oppose the amended legislation.
The AMA will continue working with Congress to increase the number of Americans with quality, affordable health insurance, but this bill, as currently drafted, pushes policy in the wrong direction. The nation’s largest physician group also encourages all members of Congress to engage in an inclusive and thorough dialogue on appropriate steps to improve the health system.
“Health insurance coverage is critically important. Without it, millions of American families could be just one serious illness or accident away from losing their home, business, or life savings,” the AMA noted in its letter. “The AMA has long supported the availability of advanceable and refundable tax credits, inversely related to income, as a means to assist individuals and families to purchase health insurance. The credits proposed under the AHCA are significantly less generous for those with the greatest need than provided under current law. The reduced purchasing power with the AHCA tax credits will put insurance coverage out of reach for millions of Americans.”
“We also remain deeply concerned with the reduction of federal support for the Medicaid program and the resulting significant loss of coverage. Medicaid expansion has provided access to critical services, including mental health and substance abuse treatment, for millions. Not only will the AHCA force many states to roll back coverage to these millions of previously ineligible individuals, but the significant reduction in federal support for the program will inevitably have serious implications for all Medicaid beneficiaries, including the elderly, disabled, children, and pregnant women, as well.”
The letter concludes: “We continue to stand ready to work with Congress on proposals that will increase the number of Americans with quality, affordable health insurance coverage but, for the reasons cited above, urge members to oppose the American Health Care Act.”
Last week, the AMA launched a new website, patientsbeforepolitics.org, aimed at encouraging physicians and patients to join the effort to increase access to affordable, meaningful coverage for all Americans. The interactive site provides the latest information on health system reform legislation moving through Congress, as well as the AMA’s efforts to help shape the future of U.S. health care.
In January, the AMA released its health system reform objectives — primary among them that people who currently have insurance should not become uninsured — and shared them with Members of Congress. Additionally, the “Envisioning Health Reform” series on AMA Wire looks deeper at the essential issues in the health system reform debate and provides updates on health reform discussions in Congress.
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About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.