AMA addresses ACA, HC reform in letter to Congress

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The American Medical Association (AMA) reports that the U.S. Senate will begin to consider a “budget resolution that includes reconciliation instructions intended to enable the repeal of significant portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).”

AMA adds that, “Senate action on the budget resolution could be completed next week with consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives occurring shortly thereafter…goal is for both chambers to complete action on the budget resolution by January 20 when president-elect Trump is inaugurated.”

AMA explains that, “The reconciliation legislation to repeal portions of the [ACA] would be developed over the next couple of months by the Finance and the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committees in the Senate, and by the Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means committees in the House. Senate procedural rules have led the Republican leadership to pursue a ‘repeal and replace’ strategy that would require passage of two separate bills. Under discussion is a plan to pass a reconciliation bill that would repeal major portions of the ACA but defer the implementation date for two, three or more years to allow for a transition to a new health reform framework and passage of a separate ‘replacement package’.”   

In a related development, AMA Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President James L. Madara, M.D., sent the following letter to congressional leaders on January 3…

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:

On behalf of the physician and medical student members of the [AMA], I am writing regarding our ongoing commitment to reform of the health care system and potential legislative actions during the first months of the 115th Congress.

The AMA has long advocated for health insurance coverage for all Americans, as well as pluralism, freedom of choice, freedom of practice, and universal access for patients. These policy positions are guided by the actions of the AMA House of Delegates, composed of representatives of more than 190 state and national specialty medical associations, and they form the basis for AMA consideration of reforms to our health care system.

Health system reform is an ongoing quest for improvement. The AMA supported passage of the [ACA] because it was a significant improvement on the status quo at that time. We continue to embrace the primary goal of that law – to make high quality, affordable health care coverage accessible to all Americans. We also recognize that the ACA is imperfect and there a number of issues that need to be addressed. As such, we welcome proposals, consistent with the policies of our House of Delegates, to make coverage more affordable, provide greater choice, and increase the number of those insured.

In considering opportunities to make coverage more affordable and accessible to all Americans, it is essential that gains in the number of Americans with health insurance coverage be maintained.

Consistent with this core principle, we believe that before any action is taken through reconciliation or other means that would potentially alter coverage, policymakers should lay out for the American people, in reasonable detail, what will replace current policies. Patients and other stakeholders should be able to clearly compare current policy to new proposals so they can make informed decisions about whether it represents a step forward in the ongoing process of health reform.

We stand ready to work with you to continue the process of improving our health care system and ensuring that all Americans have access to high quality, affordable health care coverage.

Sincerely,

James L. Madara, M.D.

Click for AMA ACA letter 

Click for AMA health system reform objectives