Docs, Hospitals, Insurers Blast Last-Ditch ACA Repeal

MedPage Today, September 22, 2017

With one exception, most physician groups stating a position viewed the bill as dangerous.

This article first appeared September 21, 2017 on Medpage Today.

By Shannon Firth

WASHINGTON -- As momentum builds for the GOP's latest Obamacare repeal effort, most major physician and hospital groups skewered the proposal.

But some held their tongues or even welcomed certain new "freedoms" the bill could afford.

Last week senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) introduced a healthcare bill to pool money that would have been funnelled into premium and cost-sharing subsidies and Medicaid expansion and direct it instead to states in the form of block grants.

The proposal would also repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual and employer mandates, the medical device tax, and "strengthen the ability for states to waive Obamacare regulations," according to a Sept. 13 press release posted on Cassidy's website. It appears the bill will have no committee hearings or markups before coming to the Senate floor for a vote.

With one exception, most physician groups stating a position viewed the bill as dangerous.

Physicians: 'Do No Harm'

The new bill "violates the precept of 'first do no harm,'" said James Madara, MD, CEO and executive vice president of the American Medical Association, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky,) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

"Similar to proposals that were considered in the Senate in July, we believe the Graham-Cassidy Amendment would result in millions of Americans losing their health insurance coverage, destabilize health insurance markets, and decrease access to affordable coverage and care," he wrote.

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