Healthcare reacts to rejection of 'skinny repeal' plan

Kelly Gooch -

The Senate rejected a "skinny repeal" plan that would have eliminated some parts of the ACA in an early morning vote Friday. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, was among three Republicans who voted "no."

Here is how four groups reacted to the vote.

American Medical Association President David Barbe, MD, encouraged continued work on the ACA.

"While we are relieved that the Senate did not adopt legislation that would have harmed patients and critical safety-net programs, the status quo is not acceptable. We urge Congress to initiate a bipartisan effort to address shortcomings in the Affordable Care Act.

"The first priority should be to stabilize the individual marketplace to achieve the goal of providing access to quality, affordable health coverage for more Americans."

America's Essential Hospitals President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, said the vote "is welcome news for millions of Americans and the nation's essential hospitals, which care for people who face social and financial hardships."

"Americans want and deserve a truly deliberative and bipartisan process to reduce barriers to health care and fix the shortcomings of the ACA. Sens. McCain and [Chuck] Schumer, [D-N.Y.], made clear their desire to bridge political and ideological divides, and we hope all lawmakers follow their lead. The health and economic stability of millions of people depend on our elected leaders working together to preserve gains in coverage and ensure hospitals have the resources necessary to meet their mission of caring for those in need.

"Efforts to protect our hospitals and their patients must start now by averting damaging cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments, set to start Oct. 1. Congress also must renew its commitment to the Children's Health Insurance Program and other key elements of the safety net.

"The nation's essential hospitals can help lawmakers find solutions to our most pressing healthcare problems. Let's all get to work now."

Children's Hospital Association was pleased with the vote.

"The Children's Hospital Association thanks those lawmakers who spoke up for kids in this process and ultimately helped protect the nation's children. As this legislative chapter closes, children's hospitals remain eager to work with Congress and the administration in a bipartisan fashion to strengthen coverage and care for children across the country, and continuing to improve Medicaid is a crucial part of that process. Our children represent our future and advancing their health must be our top priority.
 
"Medicaid covers more than 30 million children in the U.S. All of these kids rely on the program for fundamental preventative care such as vaccines and check-ups, as well as more complex care when a child requires surgery or complex and ongoing treatments. Children's coverage, benefits and access to care under the Medicaid program are critical.
 
"Standing on the shoulders of Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program covers another 6 million children. States and families must be assured that CHIP will continue into the future. CHIP funding is set to expire at the end of September, and Congress should act quickly to fund this critical program.
 
"Children's hospitals across the country, on behalf of the millions of patients and families they serve, are ready to work with Congress to develop bipartisan solutions that advance care for children. Ensuring that this generation grows up healthy and strong is our responsibility, and the Medicaid and CHIP programs are critical parts of that mission."

Association of American Medical Colleges President and CEO Darrell Kirch, MD, said his organization is grateful the Senate did not approve the "skinny repeal" plan.

"On behalf of the patients we care for, we thank the Senate for voting to protect the health of millions of Americans — including those on Medicaid and with pre-existing conditions — whose coverage was in jeopardy.

"Now it is more important than ever that Congress and the administration work together to improve the current system and ensure that all Americans have access to affordable, comprehensive coverage. The most immediate concern is stabilizing the health insurance market through continued, predictable funding of cost-sharing subsidies. Without these subsidies, the markets will face significant strains that could be devastating for patients, especially those who are most vulnerable.

"Additionally, there are other issues that must be addressed for the benefit of patients, including reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicare extenders, and reducing the unnecessary regulatory infrastructure that drives up costs and inhibits the efficient delivery of patient care.

"The nation's medical schools and teaching hospitals continue to develop ways to move toward a more efficient, high-quality health care delivery system. We stand ready to work with the administration and all members of Congress on these efforts in order to deliver solutions that protect patients and improve the health of all."

 

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