April 28, 2017
Healthcare Groups: Revised GOP Healthcare Bill ‘Even Worse’
By Joanne Finnegan
If they didn’t like a previous Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), leading groups that represent doctors, nurses and hospitals say a revised GOP healthcare bill is “even worse.”
The latest version of the American Health Care Act includes an amendment, authored by Rep. Tom MacArthur, a Republican from New Jersey, that lets states opt out of certain ACA provisions. While those changes have brought some conservative GOP lawmakers on board, they are being denounced by healthcare groups and have caused other lawmakers to withdraw their support.
Without enough votes, Republican leaders backed off on plans to bring their revised healthcare bill to the House floor today. The delay means repeal of the ACA won’t happen during President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office.
In a letter (PDF) to House leaders, the American Medical Association (AMA) said the bill would still result in millions of Americans losing their healthcare coverage and make coverage unaffordable for people with pre-existing medical conditions. “Nothing in the MacArthur amendment remedies the shortcomings of the underlying bill,” wrote James L. Madara, M.D., CEO and executive vice president of the AMA.
Six physician groups, which represent more than 560,000 doctors and medical students, also sent a letter (PDF) to House leaders opposed to the bill. The letter was signed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Osteopathic Association and the American Psychiatric Association.
In a statement, the American College of Physicians said the amendment to allow states to opt out “makes the bill even less acceptable than it was before it was modified.” The amendment would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal the ACA’s community rating protection, which protects people with pre-existing conditions from being charged much higher premiums.
The American Nurses Association, which represents the country’s 3.6 million registered nurses, also emailed a statement saying the bill cuts critical Medicaid funding and weakens Medicare.
And it wasn’t just healthcare groups opposed to the latest replacement bill. In a statement, the AARP also said the revised bill is “even worse” than the failed original. The National Education Association said the amendment “makes a terrible bill even worse,” and the National Center for Lesbian Rights said the latest effort would leave millions of LGBT community members without healthcare.
While those groups said the latest bill goes in the wrong direction, others spoke out in support of the changes. The Independent Women’s Voice called it a step in the right direction, as did the Institute for Policy Innovation.