ACA replacement plan revealed: 9 reactions

House Republicans on Monday unveiled the American Health Care Act. Here are nine reactions to the measure.

1. Al Babbington, CEO of PrescribeWellness, noted the plan's impact on states. "The new [proposed] legislation is pushing the burden of supporting the Medicaid population to the states. Over 70 million people now receive Medicaid support at nearly half a trillion dollars in expense," he said in an emailed statement."The states will need to act fast in finding ways to reduce costs. Community pharmacy can play an important role by providing population education and support to reduce emergency room visits, saving billions."

2. Tyrék Lee Sr., executive vice president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, expressed dissatisfaction with the plan. "Congressional Republicans' latest healthcare proposal is an assault on working people, one that provides a massive tax cut to the very wealthiest Americans by eliminating healthcare coverage for millions of hardworking Americans," he said in an emailed statement.

3. Constance Scharff, PhD, senior addiction research fellow and director of addiction research for Cliffside Malibu, addressed addiction treatment. In an emailed statement, Dr. Scharff said: "The proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act could be catastrophic for those in need of mental health or addiction services. These proposed changes are a step in the wrong direction."

4. Sam Gibbs, executive director of AgileHealthInsurance.com, said in an emailed statement the proposed legislative changes "are not as dramatic as some critics had feared." He added: "Notably, for the first time, the middle class would receive a tax break for privately purchased health insurance options, a benefit businesses have been enjoying for years. Further, most of the changes are not immediate, allowing consumers time to learn about the changes so they can plan accordingly for the future."

5. Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, noted the bill's potential impact on older Americans. "It would be a disaster for older and working Americans and for our healthcare system," he said in an emailed statement. "The bill repeals the increase in the Medicare payroll tax for high earners. That will reduce the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by four years, from 2029 to 2025. This is an insult to the 57 million Medicare beneficiaries who have earned their guaranteed Medicare benefits, and many millions more who contribute to Medicare expecting it to be there when they retire."  

6. Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, also expressed dissatisfaction with the proposal. "In many ways, the House Republican proposal released last night not only accepts the flawed progressive premises of Obamacare but expands upon them. Ronald Reagan once said, 'Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.' The AHCA does all three," he said in an emailed statement.

7. Bruce Siegel, MD, president and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals, outlined his various concerns with the measure. In a statement on the AEH website, Dr. Siegel said: "We appreciate that House Republicans offer the safety net some support in today’s reconciliation bill, including an eventual end to disproportionate share hospital cuts. Nevertheless, America’s Essential Hospitals remains deeply concerned about the legislation in its current form. We are particularly disappointed lawmakers seem willing to consider this bill in committee without a Congressional Budget Office score and an estimate of how the bill might impact health care coverage. A score is crucial, as this legislation could place a heavy burden on the safety net by reducing federal support for Medicaid expansion over time and imposing per-capita caps on the program."

8. HIV Medicine Association Chair Wendy Armstrong, MD, is concerned about what the ACA replacement bill means for HIV patients. "The private insurance market elements, such as the requirement for continuous coverage and the insufficient tax credits for lower income individuals, will likely shut the door on coverage in the individual insurance market for most people with HIV. Forty percent of individuals with HIV in care rely on the Medicaid program for their healthcare coverage. The House proposal to fund Medicaid based on a per capita cap will shift costs to the states and threaten access to healthcare services and treatment for the hundreds of thousands of individuals with HIV who are covered by the program," she said in an emailed statement.

She added: "If advanced, the ACA replacement bill stands to threaten our progress in diagnosing and treating patients with HIV and increase healthcare disparities both between states and based on socioeconomic status. These proposals will not only harm individuals with HIV but will compromise our nation’s public health by leaving fewer with access to the antiretroviral treatment that keeps patients healthy and reduces their risk of transmitting HIV to near zero. We strongly urge the committees to reconsider the bill and the accelerated and non-transparent process with which these proposals have been advanced."

9. Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, spoke out against the proposed legislation in an emailed statement, saying it "asks the low-income and most vulnerable in our country to bear the brunt of the cuts to our healthcare system." She added: "In addition to moving away from an effective coverage expansion that has provided healthcare to more than 20 million working people, this proposal would also take many backward steps in the continual effort to improve our healthcare system." 

 

 

 

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