AMA Physicians Reject House ACA Replacement Bill

Andrew W. Gurman, MD Andrew W. Gurman, MD
President
American Medical Association
@AndyGurmanMD

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), released by Congress this week, is intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But as introduced, it does not align with the health reform objectives that the AMA set forth in January to protect patients. While the ACA is imperfect, the current version of the AHCA is not legislation we can support.

The replacement bill, as written, would reverse the coverage gains achieved under the ACA, causing many Americans to lose the health care coverage they have come to depend upon.

In a letter sent today to leaders of the House committees that will mark up the AHCA, AMA CEO and Executive Vice President James L. Madara, MD, wrote that the proposed changes to Medicaid would limit states’ ability to respond to changes in service demands and threaten coverage for people with low incomes. Dr. Madara also noted that the proposed changes in tax credits and subsidies to help patients purchase private health insurance coverage are expected to result in fewer Americans with insurance coverage.

It is unclear the exact impact this bill will have on the number of insured Americans, and review by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is still pending. The ratings and analytics firm S&P Global Ratings has already estimated that as many as 10 million Americans could lose coverage if this bill becomes law, saying that between 2 million and 4 million people could lose the insurance they purchased in the individual health exchanges under the ACA, and between 4 million and 6 million could lose their coverage under Medicaid.

That just won’t do.

We all know that our health system is highly complex, but our core commitment to the patients most in need should be straightforward. As the AMA has previously stated, members of Congress must keep top of mind the potentially life-altering impact their policy decisions will have.

We physicians often see patients at their most vulnerable, from the first time they set eyes on a newborn child to the last time they squeeze a dying loved one’s hand. We don’t want to see any of our patients, now insured, exposed to the financial and medical uncertainties that would come with losing that coverage.

That is, above all, why physicians must be involved in this debate.

Editor’s note: In the coming weeks, a series of AMA Wire® articles will explore policies that form the basis of the AMA’s advocacy on health reform. Read parts one (“Protecting insurance gains is priority No. 1”) and two (“No going back on key market protections”).

Reprinted with permission and as Published by the American Medical Association on AMA Wire at: https://wire.ama-assn.org/ama-news/physicians-reject-house-aca-replacement-bill

Letter re: the AHCA being driven through the US House

#TrumpedUpCare Losers: Those Using Long-Term Care Under Medicaid

Rep. Joe Kennedy III speaking at 4:15AM this morning on the impact of the Republican’s #TrumpedUpCare bill on those who receive Medicaid benefits for #LongTermCare ….so much for Republicans NOT picking “winners and losers” … about 6.9 MILLION seniors across America who could find themselves turfed out of care when there’s no way to pay the bill for their care.

NV-CD2 Could Seriously Use Representation Like This —

A friend of mine lives in Ohio and is lucky enough to be represented in Congress by a truly progressive fighter, Sen. Sherrod Brown.  Here’s the letter he sent to her the other day in response to her letter (I’ve replaced her name for privacy reasons with “Constituent”).

Dear “Constituent”:

Thank you for getting in touch with me regarding potential reforms to Social Security.

Social Security, combined with Medicare, forms the bedrock of retirement security for millions of Americans. I oppose any efforts to privatize, reduce benefits, or raise the retirement age for Social Security. Such actions would pull the rug out from workers and seniors who’ve planned their retirement around earned benefits.

Contrary to rumors otherwise, Social Security is not going bankrupt or “belly up.” According to the most recent trustees’ report, the program can pay full survivor and retirement benefits until 2034, at which point revenues will still cover around 79 percent of obligations. Congress can and should take steps to bolster the long-term solvency of the program. But solvency should not be justification for harmful cuts.

I support strengthening the program to ensure adequate benefits for participants. I believe we should change the way Social Security calculates its cost-of-living-adjustments to better reflect price changes in the everyday items seniors purchase, like prescription drugs or healthcare. And I support lifting the current taxable income cap of $127,200 to improve the solvency of the program and ensure a fairer system for paying into it.

These issues are extremely important to me, and I appreciate your input. As Congress considers any reforms to Social Security, I will keep your thoughts in mind.

Thank you again for contacting me.

Sincerely,
Sherrod Brown
United States Senator

Paul Ryan/Tom Price/GOP *do* plan to throw grandma off a cliff…after picking her pocket.

Five years ago, a PAC called “The Agenda Project” released a TV ad, warning that GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan had a plan to wipe out the current Medicare system, voucherize it with a plan where seniors would be given a flat dollar voucher amount and thrown to the wolves of a deregulated private insurance market.  Well surprise …

Read the full article here: Paul Ryan/Tom Price/GOP *do* plan to throw grandma off a cliff…after picking her pocket.

Senator Harry Reid’s Statement on the 81st Anniversary of Social Security

Social SecurirtyOn Sunday, we celebrate 81 years of the most successful government program in American history – Social Security. On August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, declaring his effort to “frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.” Since that day, Social Security has expanded to give even more Americans the support they need. Over eight decades later, President Roosevelt’s vision endures, providing millions with the economic security they have earned and deserve.

Social Security
embodies the best of our American values. It promises all Americans that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can retire in dignity. And if you become disabled or lose the breadwinner in the family, Social Security will be there to protect you and your family.

Seniors across Nevada and throughout America have earned their Social Security benefits. They rely on them to put food on the table, make the rent and pay the bills, especially during tough economic times. Some extreme voices claim this is a government handout, but that is flat out wrong. Social Security is a benefit that hard working Americans earn, by working and paying into the system.

Social Security has been a remarkable success. Before Social Security, more than 50 percent of older Americans lived in poverty. Today, less than 9 percent of seniors live in poverty. This is the direct result of Social Security.

Unfortunately, despite decades of success, many Republicans continue to threaten the future of Social Security. Republican leaders routinely exaggerate the financial challenges facing the program in an effort to create a false sense of crisis. And many want to delay the retirement age, cut benefits and, ultimately, privatize the program, putting our seniors at the mercy of the stock market.

I have spent my career fending off attacks against Social Security. I understand how critical this vital program is for Nevada’s seniors, and I will continue the fight to ensure it is there to provide our seniors with the retirement security they deserve.

Social Security represents a trust between the government and hardworking Americans who contribute in good faith. We must make sure that this solemn promise is honored for many more decades to come.

For more information and to learn more about my work in the Senate on behalf of Nevadans or to contact me, please visit reid.senate.gov, sign up for my e-newsletter, The Reid Report, or connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Sincerely,

HARRY REID
U.S. Senator for Nevada