Physicians Groups Concerned With Repercussions of the Republican Health Plan

Several medical interest groups have raised their opposition to the new Republican plan drafted to replace the Affordable Care Act.

The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Hospital Association (AHA) have openly raised concerns with the proposals within the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that was released by House Republicans earlier this week.

The House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees, which were responsible for drafting the bill, received a letter from the AMA that stated that the current draft of the AHCA would not just reduce insurance coverage, but would also cause harm to vulnerable populations in need of healthcare services. In their letter, the AMA raised concerns with:

  • The proposed tax credit structure, which is inversely related to a person’s age rather than income
  • Proposed rollback of the Medicaid expansion program, which, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), successfully covered low-income individuals
  • Repeal of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which constitutes 12% of current CDC funding

Acknowledging the need to address some of the problems within the ACA, the letter urged the members of the 2 committees to ensure that “low and moderate income Americans will be able to secure affordable and adequate coverage and that Medicaid, CHIP, and other safety net programs are maintained and adequately funded.”

A similar letter was drafted by the AHA, asking the Congress to halt formal voting on the bill until the Congressional Budget Office provides a score on the coverage estimates. AHA has also raised concerns with the Medicaid restructure and reduction in payments for hospital services. With an appeal to Congress to guarantee coverage to as many Americans as possible, AHA, which represents all major hospitals and health systems, wrote, “It is critical that this process be thoughtful and focused on finding ways to improve our health care system, particularly for the poor, elderly and disabled.”

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has estimated that if the bill becomes law, a 55-year old with an annual income of $25,000 would see a premium increase of at least $2300. A 64-year old in the same income bracket would see a premium spike of at least $4400 annually, while a 64-year old earning $15,000 would spend more than $5800.

The bill has also drawn opposition from other groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Federation of American Hospitals.

Meanwhile, the House Ways and Means Committee cleared the AHCA in a predawn, party line vote earlier today.