American Medical Association Opposes Senate Health Care Bill

Jun 26, 2017

The CEO of the American Medical Association has written a letter to Senate leadership laying out the organization's opposition to the Senate's version of the Obamacare repeal bill.

"Medicine has long operated under the precept of Primum non nocere, or “first, do no harm,” Dr. James Madara wrote in a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. "The draft legislation violates that standard on many levels."

Schumer, like his Democratic colleagues, opposes the legislation. McConnell was a leader in drafting the legislation, which took place behind closed doors. He is currently trying to garner the necessary 50 votes for the bill to pass.

Madara explained in his letter that the AMA had consistently advocated for reforms that would ensure people with health insurance don't lose it, and that would provide "sufficient" funding of Medicaid. The association is particularly concerned, he wrote, about the proposal to replace the current federal funding for Medicaid with block grants to states based on enrollment.

"Per-capita-caps fail to take into account unanticipated costs of new medical innovations or the fiscal impact of public health epidemics, such as the crisis of opioid abuse currently ravaging our nation," Madara wrote.

Madara also raised concerns with the provision of the bill that would prohibit individuals from using their medicaid coverage at Planned Parenthood.

He did, however, praise portions of the bill, like extending cost sharing reduction payments, that he said would bring stability to the health care individual marketplace.

The AMA also opposed the House's version of the Obamacare repeal bill, which passed last month.

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