American Medical Association urges defeat of House health care bill

The Wisconsin Gazette

Citing projections that millions of people would lose coverage if the American Health Care Act were to become law, the American Medical Association urged members of Congress to oppose the amended legislation.

The AMA, in a press statement, said it would continue working with Congress to increase the number of Americans with quality, affordable health insurance, but the bill, as currently drafted, pushes policy in the wrong direction.

The AMA is nation’s largest physician group.

“Health insurance coverage is critically important,” the AMA stated in a letter to House members. “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 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.”

The letter continued: “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 concluded: “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 information on health care 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.