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American Medical Association opposes GOP health care bill

By Ray Downs
American Medical Association opposes GOP health care bill
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaks to reporters about the pending GOP health care bill, which the American Medical Association came out against on June 26. File Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo

June 26 (UPI) -- The American Medical Association, the largest group of doctors in the U.S., has come out against the Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In a letter to Senate leaders, Dr. James L. Madara, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President of the AMA, says that doctors around the nation are troubled by the proposed Republican health care reforms.

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"Medicine has long operated under the precept of Primum non nocere, or 'first, do no harm.' The draft legislation violates that standard on many levels," he wrote.

One of the chief concerns listed is that the Republican health care bill will have a negative impact on lower and middle classes.

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"Though we await additional analysis of the proposal, it seems highly likely that a combination of smaller subsidies resulting from lower benchmarks and the increased likelihood of waivers of important protections such as required benefits, actuarial value standards, and out of pocket spending limits will expose low and middle income patients to higher costs and greater difficulty in affording care," he wrote.

The AMA is also worried that the new bill will result in lower investment in preventative and public health while restricting health care access to lower-income Americans.

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"These activities are key to controlling health care costs and the elimination of support for them runs counter to the goal of improving the health care system," Madara wrote, referring to investments. "We also continue to oppose Congressionally-mandated restrictions on where lower income women (and men) may receive otherwise covered health care services – in this case the prohibition on individuals using their Medicaid coverage at clinics operated by Planned Parenthood."

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According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Republican health care plan will leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026.

At least two Senate Republicans have come out against the bill, including Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

Both senators said they will vote against a procedural step that would allow the bill to move forward in committee.

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"I want to work w/ my GOP & Dem colleagues to fix the flaws in ACA. CBO analysis shows Senate bill won't do it. I will vote no on [motion to proceed]," Collins wrote on Twitter.

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