The sudden and swift passage of TrumpCare yesterday as created turmoil in patient groups around the USA. By leaving in an option in the bill that would allow states to apply for a waiver to raise the price of premiums for patients struggling with pre-existing conditions, disabled and elderly patients are deeply concerned that they will be unable to afford healthcare. Of equal concern is the proposed cancellation of Medicaid by 2020, the insurance that millions of seniors and the disabled rely on for their care. Here are the statements from the largest medical associations in the USA who are deeply disturbed by the passage of the AHCA.
American College of OB/GYN Statement
Gynecologists are often at the front line for the care of patients with pelvic pain. They released a statement yesterday condemning the passage of the AHCA, arguing:
- This legislation turns back the clock on women’s health, and will threaten the health and well-being of America’s women and families. Our bottom line is simple: No one should be worse off than they are today.
- The facts are that cutting $880 billion out of the Medicaid program, eliminating Medicaid expansion, denying qualified providers the ability to offer Medicaid-covered primary and preventive care, allowing states to opt out of covering essential benefits including maternity care, and weakening protections for people with pre-existing conditions all lead to only one result: sicker patients and higher health care costs.
- It harms pregnant women and babies by reverting to the years before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when a woman’s maternity and other essential coverage depended on what state she lived in—when only five states required maternity coverage, only 12 percent of individual market plans offered this coverage, and maternity care riders offered little real financial protection.
- By eliminating the Medicaid expansion program, the House has acted to decimate low-income women’s access to care, a move that will cause the uninsured rate to skyrocket. Under the ACA, the uninsured rate for women ages 18 to 64 fell from 19.3 percent to 10.8 percent between 2010 and 2015.
- This legislation is an assault on women’s health and ACOG is extremely disappointed in the House of Representatives for passing this harmful legislation. We urge the U.S. Senate to reject the AHCA and instead focus on ways to improve our nation’s health and help reduce health care costs.
Read their full statement here!
American Medical Association
The largest group of physicians in the United States warned that passage of the bill could devastate patients with pre-existing conditions. American Medical Association (AMA) President Andrew W. Gurman, M.D. said yesterday that “The bill passed by the House today will result in millions of Americans losing access to quality, affordable health insurance and those with pre-existing health conditions face the possibility of going back to the time when insurers could charge them premiums that made access to coverage out of the question. “ Read more
American Nursing Association
Nurses often serve as the first point of contact for patients struggling with chronic disease. They, too, deeply disapprove of this bill. “Over the past several weeks, nurses from across the country expressed their strong disapproval of this bill which would negatively impact the health of the nation. Today, Congress not only ignored the voice of the nation’s most honest and ethical profession and largest group of healthcare professionals, it also ignored the almost 15 million people in the United States with pre-existing conditions who will now have no protection from insurer discrimination.”
— American Nurses Association President Pamela Cipriano, PhD, RN
American Academy of Family Physicians
Representing 129,000 physicians in the USA, Dr. John Meigs Jr wrote “The American Academy of Family Physicians is deeply disappointed with the U.S. House of Representatives passage of the American Health Care Act. This legislation will harm millions of their constituents. It will destabilize our health care system, cause 24 million Americans to lose their coverage, and allow for discrimination against patients based on their gender, age, and health status. Its inadequate and temporary high-risk pool funds are simply a band aid that does nothing to provide health security to the nearly one in three Americans who have a pre-existing condition. Its provision allowing annual and lifetime caps on benefits diminishes the value of every policy sold in the future.” Read more
American Academy of Pediatrics
Dedicated to the health of children throughout the USA, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly rejects TrumpCare as currently written. Dr. Fernando Stein, President of the organization, wrote “The American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed today by a vote of 217-213 in the U.S. House of Representatives, putting into motion a dangerous policy precedent and clearing the first hurdle to reversing the tremendous progress we’ve made in children’s health care coverage. As the U.S. Senate considers this bill, pediatricians urge legislators to start over and find a new way forward.
“The rate of children’s health coverage in our country is at a historic high of 95 percent; the AHCA would not only halt this progress, it would tear it down. By dismantling Medicaid through capped funding and the elimination of the Medicaid expansion, those who will suffer the most are those who need health care the most, including the 37 million children across the country who rely on the program. Medicaid works for these children, including those with special health care needs and those from low-income families – they are more likely to get check-ups, miss less school, graduate and enter the workforce than their uninsured peers.
“The bill also allows insurers to go back to putting annual and lifetime limits on coverage, meaning that a premature baby on private insurance could exceed her lifetime limit on coverage before she even leaves the hospital. In addition, the bill allows insurance companies to refuse to cover those with pre-existing conditions, or charge them more for coverage, meaning that conditions ranging from asthma to pregnancy to cystic fibrosis could completely devastate a family financially and leave those who need care unable to access it.
“AHCA is bad policy for children and dangerous policy for our country, and the American Academy of Pediatrics will continue to speak out against it. We urge U.S. senators to reject AHCA and instead support health care policies that put children and families first.” Read the statement
American Psychological Association
President of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Antonio E. Puente, urged the Senate to reject the bill. He said “The bill now opens the door to health plans once again charging exorbitant premiums to the tens of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions. It is estimated that about 45 million Americans experience a behavioral health condition over the course of a year. The $8 billion payment to states for setting up a high-risk pool would cover only about 76,000 people — this is barely a drop in the bucket.”
He points out that the House did not allow the Congressional Budget Office to issue a new estimate of the costs of the bill. “People shouldn’t forget the earlier Congressional Budget Office estimate that the original bill would leave 24 million Americans without health insurance by 2026 — mostly because of cuts to Medicaid. We have no idea what the modified bill will cost as the House did not wait for the CBO to reanalyze it.” said Puente.
Medicaid currently provides roughly a quarter of all financing for mental health services. The American Health Care Act would cut funding for Medicaid by $839 billion over the next ten years, and remove the requirement that Medicaid expansion plans cover essential health benefits packages including mental and behavioral health and substance use treatment. “These changes would force states to reduce both enrollments and benefits, harming tens of millions of lower-income Americans who are most at risk of having a mental health, behavioral or substance use disorder… We call on the Senate to reject the bill due to its projected adverse impact on the well-being of our nation, particularly on individuals with mental health, behavioral and substance use disorders.” Read the statement.
American College of Cardiology
“The American College of Cardiology opposes the AHCA in its current form, and is disappointed by its passage today in the U.S. House of Representatives,” said ACC President Mary Norine Walsh, MD, FACC. “As it stands, the AHCA would allow states to bypass existing federal protections for sick and elderly people, and potentially undermine coverage for critical services for patients with heart disease. This iteration of the AHCA is inconsistent with the ACC’s Principles for Health Reform, which reflect our belief in the importance of promoting patient access to meaningful insurance coverage and quality, cost-effective care.” – Read more!
American Hospital Association
The American Hospital Association is particularly concerned about the cancellation of Medicaid. President Rick Pollack said “America’s hospitals and health systems are deeply disappointed in the House passage of the AHCA because it will jeopardize health coverage for millions of Americans…. the proposal eliminates essential protections for older and sicker patients, including those with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer patients and the chronically ill. It does little to help the 24 million Americans who would be left without coverage following repeal and makes deep cuts to Medicaid, which provides essential services for the disabled, poor and elderly people in this country…. We urge the Senate to restart and reset the discussion in a manner that provides coverage to those who need it and ensures that the most vulnerable are not left behind.”
Summing up the issues the best is Dr. Chris Van Gorder, President of Scripts Health. He wrote “My reaction to this is sadness, not so much because of this vote but mostly because this is just one more example of our elected officials refusing to compromise and work together for the good of the country. As I have said many times over many years – health care should not be political – it’s personal – it’s about life and death. No health care legislation approved by only one party will last the test of time. Good and sustainable legislation should come out of debate, compromise and the involvement of the experts – in this case, health care professionals. What the passage of this bill today will do is to continue the uncertainty about the future of health care and how it is going to be funded and it will cause confusion and fear with patients and health care providers. I will continue my plea to our elected officials to stop this partisan bickering about health care policy and instead, come together and work together to design a health care policy and plan that will increase coverage and access and help our country improve quality and outcomes while reducing the cost of care. We health care providers stand ready to help.” Read more