10 GOP Doctors Caucus members comment on AHCA

The GOP Doctors Caucus has long advocated to replace the ACA and eliminate the individual mandate. Members of the Caucus played an instrumental role in drafting the American Health Care Act and publicly releasing it on Monday, March 6.

Here's what 10 members of the GOP Doctors Caucus had to say about the AHCA last week:

1. GOP Doctors Caucus Co-chair Rep. Phil Roe, MD, R-Tenn., pointed out the ACA will leave one-third of the people in his district with no coverage options in 2018, but the AHCA is an alternative. He said, "Unlike Obamacare, the American Health Care Act is being presented to the American people for their input and being debated in a transparent way."

2. Following 28 hours of debate in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Larry Bucshon, MD, R-Ind., voted to approve legislation, saying, "We are on a rescue mission and if we don't act now, families across the country will have nowhere to go as Obamacare continues in a death spiral…The American Health Care Act repeals the big-government mandates and costly taxes in the law and replaces it with common-sense reforms that lower costs, expand access, and uphold critical patient protections like coverage for preexisting conditions."

3. After tweeting that his professional life and public service have been dedicated to improving healthcare, House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Chairman Rep. Michael Burgess, MD, R-Texas, said, "My goal is to put it so we can trust the American people rather than trusting the government," according to the Washington Examiner.

4. Community Pharmacy Caucus Co-chair Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., spoke about the transition period from ACA to AHCA with NPR, saying, "…We are not going to pull the rug out from underneath people. We want to have a stable transition period. We made it clear that three things were essential. First of all, that people with preexisting conditions would be able to keep their insurance. Secondly, the parents would be able to keep their children up to the age of 26 on their insurance. And thirdly, that we would empower patients and give them the ability to make healthcare decisions along with their health care professionals."

5. Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS, R-Ariz., a member of the Freedom Caucus, doesn't see this process as an either-or situation, according to The Hill. He questioned the motives of Republican leaders trying to sell their party members on the notion that a vote against the AHCA is a vote for the Democratic Party, saying, "You transplant a bad bill with a bad bill, it's still a bad bill. And what happens when you make a promise to the American public and it doesn't come true? So I don't buy that...I don't appreciate being lumped in one way or the other."

6. Rep. Andy Harris, MD, R-Md., touched on Medicaid's connection to the AHCA, saying, "AHCA restores control of Medicaid decisions to the states, helping us to reduce fraud and abuse while promoting flexibility."

7. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., offered a mental health-related amendment to AHCA, saying on March 8, "When it comes to delivering treatment for mental illness and substance use disorders, my commitment to preserving mental health and addiction parity is ironclad. The amendment I'm offering today ensures there will be no changes to any existing mental health parity laws."

8. As of Thursday, March 9, Rep. Mike Simpson, DMD, R-Idaho, remained undecided on the bill, according to a McClatchy D.C. Bureau. His spokeswoman Nikki Wallace said, "Make no mistake, healthcare reform will be hard…But to stand idly by and watch Americans absorb 25 percent premium increases and allow millions of Americans to only have one insurance plan to choose from is simply unacceptable."

9. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., made headlines for claiming impoverished and homeless people "just don't want healthcare," according to The Washington Post. The first-term congressman later backtracked his initial statement, saying, "When I said, 'the poor will always be with us,' it was actually in the context of supporting the obligation we have to always take care of people, but we cannot completely craft a larger, affordable healthcare policy around a comparatively small segment of the population who will get care no matter what."

10. House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Diane Black, RN, R-Tenn., said, "Some have said that this legislation doesn't do enough… It zeros out the mandate, it repeals the taxes, it repeals the subsidies and it rolls back some of the regulations," according to the Trib Live.


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