AHCA vote called off: 10 reactions

The expected House vote on the American Health Care Act was cancelled Friday. Here are 10 reactions to the news.

All of the reactions were emailed to Becker's Hospital Review.

Lowell C. Brown, partner and chairman of National Health Care Law Group at Arent Fox. "To me, the collapse of the GOP's effort really began seven years ago when the key players on both sides refused to pass bipartisan health reform. The American healthcare system can't be reformed effectively on a partisan basis. In 2010 the Democrats enacted a massive reform that was 100 percent partisan, and in 2017 the GOP has answered with a replacement that was equally partisan. Our system is a wickedly complex patchwork of policies, designed to satisfy dozens of competing interests.  Without significant compromise, there's no workable solution. Social Security and Medicare, for example, had bipartisan support and they endure to this day."

Garrett Fenton, member in the health, welfare and ACA compliance practice areas of Miller & Chevalier: "It appears that the ACA will remain the law of the land, at least for now, with the Trump administration and Congressional GOP leaders eager to move on to tax reform, infrastructure and other priorities. One open question is whether and how the federal agencies in charge of implementing the ACA will take action at the administrative level to effectuate changes in the law. This previously has been referred to as 'stage 2' of the ACA repeal and replacement process. But with the legislative efforts in 'stage 1' falling flat, at least for the time being, it's not clear how much that will impact the stage 2 initiatives at the regulatory level. Many of the details of ACA implementation were delegated to the agencies, particularly HHS, meaning those same agencies still wield a great deal of ability to alter the trajectory of the law, and the insurance and healthcare markets as a whole. It also remains to be seen whether the Senate will proceed with its own ACA repeal and replacement initiatives, notwithstanding the House's failure to reach a consensus."

Bea Grause, president of the Healthcare Association of New York State. "Today the U.S. House of Representative GOP leadership pulled back from plans to hold a vote on the AHCA, the bill that would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act, after it was determined the votes for passage were not there. The Healthcare Association of New York State, New York's statewide hospital and health system association, has opposed AHCA, as it would increase by 24 million the number of uninsured nationwide, including 2.7 million New Yorkers, upend the Medicaid program, and burden hospitals and health systems with fewer resources and more uninsured or underinsured patients. HANYS urges Congress and the administration to embrace working to modify and improve the ACA to ensure meaningful healthcare coverage is as least as expansive as it is today and the healthcare delivery system made stronger."

David Herd, DC, president of the American Chiropractic Association. "The bill considered today by the U.S. House of Representatives needs further work to truly enhance patient access to affordable conservative care. The American Chiropractic Association is particularly concerned with the repeal of the essential health benefits provision within ACA, which outlines the list of benefits plans in the exchange and the private markets must contain. Our greatest concern is that the only affordable plans that will be available will contain minimal coverage, limiting patient access to chiropractors and other providers who offer non-drug, noninvasive conservative approaches to healthcare."

Dr. Herd added: "There was little opportunity for stakeholder input throughout this [repeal and replace] process. We remain ready to work with the administration and Congress on issues to protect the millions of patients who have coverage and to ensure access to cost-effective, conservative treatments provided by doctors of chiropractic."

Jeffrey Hulburt, CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization. "The House of Representatives withdrew voting on the AHCA — that's great news for Massachusetts. If the ACA was repealed as proposed in the AHCA, our state stood to lose much more than health insurance coverage. Hospitals, physicians and employees no doubt would have suffered immeasurable consequences.

What's more, the AHCA threatened to reverse the gains we've made in the shift toward a value-based model of care that rewards providers for the quality of care they provide. As one of the early adopters of value-based care, we've seen first-hand that it is possible to achieve cost-effective, high-quality health outcomes when providers and hospitals form partnerships to coordinate all aspects of patient care and share financial risk. Our model works. Recent results from CMS found that BIDCO achieved $55 million in savings while improving care quality for Medicare patients. Massachusetts is leading the nation on healthcare access, quality and cost control. We thank our Congressional Delegation for their dedication to this issue and look forward to working with them to ensure that problems identified in the ACA are addressed in thoughtful way, and future reform efforts protect the extraordinary access to healthcare and innovation that has developed in Massachusetts and across the nation."

Chip Kahn, president and CEO of Federation of American Hospitals. "As the Congress regroups after the consideration of the AHCA, we hope moving forward that policy makers will focus on improving access to affordable healthcare coverage for Americans, protect and strengthen the Medicaid program for the most vulnerable, and restore needed Medicare funding so community hospitals have sufficient resources to continue to deliver high quality care to seniors and the disabled.

If the Congress chooses to go back to the drawing board on ACA repeal and replace legislation in the future, it is important that a recrafted plan puts patients first. We stand ready to work with lawmakers on next steps."

Margaret Murray, CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans. "While ACAP opposed the AHCA, safety-net health plans continue to believe in the importance of health coverage for all Americans at higher quality and lower cost. This moment gives Congress an opportunity to take a different approach to improve the healthcare system. ACAP has offered constructive ideas on how to improve the ACA to make it work for more Americans and we believe the opportunities for genuine improvement are abundant. ACAP is eager to engage in productive bipartisan discussions around reforming the healthcare system. We hope to join other healthcare stakeholders in engaging Congress in a productive dialogue on how to make a healthcare system that works for all Americans."

John Sculley (CMO) and Ravi Ika (CEO) of RxAdvance. "Even if the bill had passed, like Obamacare, it still wouldn't seriously address the crucial $750 billion in waste due to avoidable medical costs. Of these costs, half are due to physician/hospital misuse/incompetency and the other half is due to avoidable, drug-impacted medical costs. If Medicare, followed by Medicaid and commercial insurers, adopt the silver bullet solution of creating preferred physician/hospital networks with risk contracts to manage the uninsured and underinsured and select the right pharmacy benefit partner with risk contracts respectively, we can cut these costs in half and still have more than enough to cover the uninsured and underinsured."

Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of San Diego-based Scripps Health. "Now that Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have pulled the new healthcare bill, the obvious question is what will happen next.

Clearly this is far from being over. The political battle waged over the last two months has created a great deal of uncertainty for everyone in the health care industry, including healthcare providers like Scripps Health.

At the same time, maintaining the status quo isn’t an attractive option. While extending insurance coverage to millions of more Americans under the Affordable Care Act has been a great accomplishment, we can all agree that the original legislation has some flaws that need to be addressed.

Perhaps this pause in the partisan firestorm in Washington offers the perfect opportunity to find consensus in this incredibly important debate.

I believe these priorities offer the keys to success: Making sure as many Americans as possible have insurance coverage; ensuring that coverage is affordable; and giving health care providers a seat at the table to hammer out the details since we are the ones who better understand the downstream impact of health reform legislation.

Just as Obamacare represented the will of the Democrats, Trumpcare or Ryancare represents the interests of the Republicans. Such partisan-based approaches will always be handicapped by the opposite party's out-of-hand rejection. Instead, we should all be joining forces to create America'sCare — legislation based on compromise and flexibility.

Acting in a truly bipartisan effort will provide a foundation to sustain the provisions of a healthcare law for years to come and to fix the inevitable problems that will surface as we move from political legislation to real-world experience. And it will move us closer than ever to the goals we all share — insurance coverage for all Americans, better access to care and improved quality."

Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association. "Speaker Ryan made the correct choice in pulling the AHCA. This was the right call for lung health and the more than 32 million Americans living with lung disease.   

Together with 10 leading patient organizations, we have put forward Consensus Healthcare Reform Principles that identify the fundamental healthcare needs of Americans. The American Lung Association is ready to work with the Congress and the administration on commonsense steps to ensure the healthcare system provides affordable, accessible and adequate healthcare coverage and preserves the coverage provided to millions through Medicare and Medicaid."


More articles on leadership and management:

8 things to know about Wilson Medical Center
Word from the C-suite: President Obama says 'America is stronger because of ACA'
Scripps CEO Chris Van Gorder: 'Good' healthcare law 'will not come out of back room deals'

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