Healthcare weighs in on House AHCA passage: 17 reactions from industry leaders

The GOP's American Health Care Act cleared a significant legislative hurdle Thursday when the House passed the bill.

Here are 17 reactions from healthcare industry leaders, provided via statements.

"The bill passed by the House today will result in millions of Americans losing access to quality, affordable health insurance and those with pre-existing health conditions face the possibility of going back to the time when insurers could charge them premiums that made access to coverage out of the question. Action is needed, however, to improve the current healthcare insurance system. The AMA urges the Senate and the administration to work with physician, patient, hospital and other provider groups to craft bipartisan solutions so all American families can access affordable and meaningful coverage, while preserving the safety net for vulnerable populations."
— Andrew Gurman, MD, president of the American Medical Association

"Over the past several weeks, nurses from across the country expressed their strong disapproval of this bill which would negatively impact the health of the nation. Today, Congress not only ignored the voice of the nation's most honest and ethical profession and largest group of healthcare professionals, it also ignored the almost 15 million people in the United States with pre-existing conditions who will now have no protection from insurer discrimination."
— American Nurses Association President Pamela Cipriano, PhD, RN

"The American College of Physicians is extremely disappointed that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act today. This vote makes coverage unaffordable for people with pre-existing conditions,  allows insurers to opt-out of covering essential benefits like cancer screening, mental health and maternity care, and  cuts and caps the federal contribution to Medicaid while sun-setting Medicaid expansion. As a result, an estimated 24 million Americans will lose their coverage, and many more will be at risk of paying higher premiums and deductibles."
Jack Ende, MD, President of the American College of Physicians

"Critics of the bill need to remember the status quo isn't working. Under Obamacare, competition has decreased while premiums have increased by a double-digit growth rate year after year and deductibles have skyrocketed. Making matters worse, insurers are fleeing the failed marketplaces leaving one-third of all U.S. counties with only one insurer to choose from in the individual market.

Obamacare's mandates combined with a lack of competition results in people being forced to buy plans with benefits they don't want or need, at a price they can't afford. Changes have to be made, and the House Republican bill is a big step in the right direction.  

The House bill repeals Obamacare's onerous mandates, promotes competition, and provides access to the type of plans people actually want at a price they can actually afford. Additionally, the House bill provides $880 billion in tax relief and provides states the much needed flexibility they have requested for years. Under this bill, states are back in control over Medicaid and can tailor the program to best fit the needs of their constituents."
— Lindsay Bealor Greenleaf, Director at ADVI Health

"Today is the first of what I am confident will be many historic days ahead as we move toward patient-centered healthcare instead of government-centered healthcare.

I have worked in the field of Medicaid for 20 years and have heard from many mothers like myself who have shared their struggles and their hopes for a more affordable, more sustainable healthcare system. It is important that our most vulnerable citizens, the aged, the infirm, the blind and the disabled have more choices, greater access and peace of mind when it comes to their healthcare.

The bill that was passed today is a great first step achieving this goal."
— CMS Administrator Seema Verma 

"In short, the AHCA deals primarily with shifting the cost of care. Unfortunately, as it stands, it appears most of the cost burden would shift to people with pre-existing conditions. House Republicans want to replace the protections Obamacare provides for those with pre-existing conditions with federally-funded high-risk pools; however, it is unclear whether the amount allocated is enough to provide affordable access to care to everyone who needs it.  
That's why our focus should instead be on innovative models and approaches that enable us to reduce the cost of healthcare so that it isn't so expensive to begin with. We know we can drive down costs and still achieve high-quality health outcomes when providers and hospitals form partnerships to coordinate all aspects of patient care and share financial risk. We've seen it work first-hand. Statistics from CMS show that BIDCO achieved $55 million in savings while improving care quality for Medicare patients. 
Let's not lose sight of the extraordinary innovation that we've developed here in Massachusetts and across the nation. We must continue to work to ensure that problems identified in the ACA are addressed, but in a thoughtful way that guarantees affordable coverage for all Americans." 
Jeffrey Hulburt, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization, a value-based physician and hospital network and an ACO in Massachusetts 

"As you know, the House of Representatives just passed the American Health Care Act of 2017 by a narrow, party line vote of 217-213 with all Democrats opposing. This feels like the same thing that happened when the ACA was passed by a party-line vote with all Republicans opposing. The action is certainly consistent with about seven years of House Republicans promising to repeal 'Obamacare' but it's important to note that this vote is just one step in the legislative process. The bill now moves to the Senate where it is virtually certain that the bill will be modified significantly if it passes the Senate at all. 

My reaction to this is sadness not so much because of this vote but mostly because this is just one more example of our elected officials refusing to compromise and work together for the good of the country. As I have said many times over many years — healthcare should not be political — it's personal — it's about life and death.  No healthcare legislation approved by only one party will last the test of time. Good and sustainable legislation should come out of debate, compromise and the involvement of the experts — in this case, healthcare professionals. 

What the passage of this bill today will do is to continue the uncertainty about the future of healthcare and how it is going to be funded and it will cause confusion and fear with patients and healthcare providers. I will continue my plea to our elected officials to stop this partisan bickering about healthcare policy and instead, come together and work together to design a healthcare policy and plan that will increase coverage and access and help our country improve quality and outcomes while reducing the cost of care. We healthcare providers stand ready to help."
— Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps Health (San Diego)

"Consistent with our mission, Solera is focused on healthcare solutions that work. With the narrow House passage of the American Health Care Act, we hope all individuals who need quality, evidence-based, affordable care will be able to access healthcare and that providers will be properly compensated for delivering life-saving care. 

We encourage members of the Senate to carefully consider the House bill, with special attention for individuals with pre-existing conditions and those receiving Medicaid benefits, and work in earnest towards a solution that benefits all Americans."
Brenda Schmidt, CEO of Solera Health, an integrator of chronic disease prevention and management solutions

"AHIP believes that every American deserves coverage and care that is affordable and accessible, including those with pre-existing conditions. The American Health Care Act needs important improvements to better protect low- and moderate-income families who rely on Medicaid or buy their own coverage. We stand ready to work with members of the Senate and all policymakers, offering our recommendations for how this bill can be improved to ensure the private market delivers affordable coverage for all Americans."
— Marilyn Tavenner, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans

"America's hospitals and health systems are deeply disappointed in the House passage of the AHCA because it will jeopardize health coverage for millions of Americans. 

Despite last-minute changes, the proposal eliminates essential protections for older and sicker patients, including those with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer patients and the chronically ill. It does little to help the 24 million Americans who would be left without coverage following repeal and makes deep cuts to Medicaid, which provides essential services for the disabled, poor and elderly people in this country.

As the backbone of our nation's health safety net, America's hospitals and health systems — which include more than 270,000 affiliated physicians and 2 million nurses and other caregivers — believe it's vital that Medicaid be protected.

We urge the Senate to restart and reset the discussion in a manner that provides coverage to those who need it and ensures that the most vulnerable are not left behind."
— Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association

"We have serious concerns that the proposed legislation would cause harm to patients, the healthcare delivery system, the state budget and the state economy.

More than one million Illinoisans have coverage under current law, enabling them to get the healthcare they need when they need it. The AHCA would eliminate coverage for hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans, and possibly jeopardize coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions.  The bill would also repeal enhanced federal funding for expanded Medicaid coverage and impose a cap on federal funding to the states for Medicaid."
— A.J. Wilhelmi, president and CEO of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association

"Republicans have set their sights on repealing and replacing the ACA so today's vote is disappointing, but not surprising. As passed by the House of Representatives, the AHCA fails to protect the health coverage and access to care for so many Americans. It also makes it more difficult for hospitals to deliver the care we all rely on. With these concerns top of mind, FAH could not support the House legislation today.

We are committed to engaging in a forward looking dialogue with policy makers as the process moves to the Senate.

As caregivers our policy goals are simple: to ensure that the healthcare delivery and financing legislation improves access to health coverage for Americans with individual insurance; protects and strengthens the Medicaid program for the most vulnerable — especially in rural areas where more people depend on the program; and restores needed Medicare funding so community hospitals have sufficient resources to continue to deliver high quality care to seniors, the disabled, and the uninsured among us."
— Chip Kahn, president and CEO of Federation of American Hospitals

"Texas hospitals are disappointed with the vote today from the U.S. House of representatives to approve the American Health Care Act. We believe the bill will increase the number of uninsured Texans and hospitals' uncompensated care costs, yielding clinical and financial outcomes that are bad for Texas. 

We also are concerned with the bill's radical changes to federal Medicaid financing. Texas has long operated a cost effective and efficient Medicaid program. But, the unintended consequence of the AHCA's use of per capita spending caps will be to punish Texas for that efficiency. As a result, Texas will have insufficient funds, particularly compared with other states, to fairly and appropriately administer its Medicaid program."
— Ted Shaw, president and CEO of the Texas Hospital Association

"We oppose the AHCA for the following reasons:

  • It would increase by 24 million the number of uninsured nationwide; placing  2.7 million New Yorkers at risk; 
  • It would upend the Medicaid program,  stripping hospitals and health systems of needed resources while they care for more uninsured and underinsured patients; and
  • It would weaken federal protections for New Yorkers with pre-existing conditions.

All New York Democrats in the House voted against this bill. HANYS thanks these members and also thanks Representatives Dan Donovan and John Katko –– New York’s only GOP members to oppose the bill — for standing up to protect healthcare for their constituents."
Bea Grause, president of the Healthcare Association of New York State

"There's a long road ahead before the bill might head to President Trump's desk. Here are three key things to know about what could happen with the AHCA and how the bill's potential passage should and shouldn't affect provider strategy. First, the revised bill passed today likely still would negatively impact provider finances through a combination of cuts to Medicaid and reduced coverage in the individual market. Secondly, the bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate and — even if it does eventually pass — is highly likely to be significantly modified to comply with Senate rules and garner sufficient support. And for providers, passage of the AHCA underscores the need to double down on efforts to improve efficiency, elevate performance and expand patient access."
— Chas Roades, chief research officer at Advisory Board

"Passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by the House of Representatives does not advance CHA’s long-standing goal to expand health care coverage to all Californians.  

California leads the nation in expanding health care coverage, with 91 percent of all Californians now covered.  If the current version of the AHCA is enacted, some of this gain could be undone, resulting in a loss of healthcare coverage for many Californians. The plan calls for $880 billion to be cut from the Medicaid program nationwide — an amount that will undermine this vital program. More than 14 million Californians - including children, seniors and low-income families -  are currently enrolled in Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid."
— C. Duane Dauner, president and CEO of the California Hospital Association

"The AAMC and our member medical schools and teaching hospitals are deeply disappointed by today’s House passage of the American Health Care Act — a flawed bill that would likely result in 24 million more uninsured Americans.

We encourage the Senate to take a different approach that fixes current problems without creating new ones. Key to this approach is committing to high-quality, affordable, comprehensive coverage for all, including maintaining Medicaid expansion and protecting individuals with preexisting conditions, as well as other vulnerable patients who depend on the nation’s teaching hospitals and physicians for their care.

The AAMC stands ready to engage with the Senate to find ways to improve health care for all Americans.”
— Darrell Kirch, MD, president and CEO of Association of American Medical Colleges



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