As the debate over health care reform continues, the AMA and seven other consumer, patient and provider advocate groups recently announced that they are working together on a new initiative to ensure patients are put first.
According to a press release, the groups will host events around the country to discuss what they called the shortcomings of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in the areas of protections for those with employer-sponsored health insurance and those on Medicaid, access to essential care and affordability of insurance.
“Improving the health of our nation means increasing access to high-quality, affordable health insurance coverage, which is why the reduction of coverage in the American Health Care Act is of grave concern,” David O. Barbe, MD, president-elect of AMA, stated in a press release. “We urge members of Congress to protect patients first and pursue a bipartisan approach to reforming our health care system. Patients continue to benefit from the gains in coverage and consumer protections achieved in recent years, and we oppose legislation that diminish these gains.”
“As the backbone of America's health safety net, hospitals and health systems must protect access to care for those who need it and ensure that the most vulnerable, including children, the elderly, the disabled and those with pre-existing conditions, are not left behind," Rick Pollack, American Heart Association CEO and president, said in the release. “The [AHCA] would jeopardize health coverage for tens of millions of Americans while making deep cuts to Medicaid.”
Leaders of various advocacy groups participating in the initiative outlined the repercussions of AHCA as it currently stands would be on the patients they assist.
“Access to adequate, affordable health coverage is a key determinant in surviving cancer,” according to American Cancer Society/Cancer Action Network President Chris Hansen. “We urge senators to ensure that any proposed changes build on critical patient protections in current law and provide equal or better coverage than what is available today.”
“People with diabetes need ongoing care to manage their disease and avoid complications,” LaShawn McIver, MD, MPH, American Diabetes Association senior vice president, for government affairs and advocacy stated. “The [AHCA] would be devastating for people with diabetes.”
“With nearly half of Americans likely to develop pre-existing heart and stroke conditions in the next 20 years, access to reasonably priced, quality health care must be protected,” Nancy Brown, CEO, American Heart/American Stroke Association, said in the release. “We urge the Senate to remember the voters they serve will someday be patients and will hold them accountable if the health insurance they need is not there.”
The coalition's first event will be held in Cleveland, Ohio this Thursday.
Besides the aforementioned groups, the AARP, the American Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals and March of Dimes are also participating in the initiative, according to the release. - by Janel Miller
Disclosure: Healio Family Medicine was unable to determine relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.