By Reed Abelson
The American Medical Association, the powerful lobbying group representing the nation’s doctors, announced on Wednesday that it opposed the House Republicans’ proposed legislation to replace the federal health care law, saying it was concerned the bill “would result in millions of Americans losing coverage and benefits.”
The group, which provided crucial support for the Obama administration’s contentious health care legislation before it was enacted in 2010, also sent a letter to the two House committees responsible for drafting the Republicans’ bill, called the American Health Care Act. The group’s concerns echoed some others raised this week among industry organizations, like some hospital groups worried about the possible losses of coverage that could result from the proposed legislation that was revealed on Monday.
The doctors’ main concern focused on the Republicans’ replacement of the subsidies now available to millions of low-income Americans with a flat tax credit for low- and middle-income people that is adjusted by a person’s age. The AMA emphasized the need for the credits to “be sufficient to enable one to afford quality coverage,” but it also emphasized that the credits should be tied to an individual’s income as a way of covering more people and being a better use of taxpayer money. The doctors also voiced their opposition to the proposed rollback of Medicaid.
Even as the Republicans seemingly rush to pass a bill that would undo much of the current law, the doctors urged them to be careful about whatever changes they made.
“As you consider this legislation over the coming days and weeks, we hope that you will keep upmost in your mind the potentially life-altering impact your decisions will have on millions of Americans who may see their public, individual or even employer-provided health care coverage changed or eliminated,” wrote Dr. James L. Madara, the association’s chief executive.
The AMA had earlier endorsed Dr. Tom Price as President Trump’s choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services, provoking a split with rank-and-file doctors and nurses who opposed his nomination.