The American Health Care Act (AHCA) does not have many fans in the medical community.
Among other things, the bill would replace the subsidies that the ACA provided for low-and-middle-income families with a tax credit, end the Medicaid expansion program in 2020, and increase the amount insurers can charge older consumers compared to younger ones from three times the amount to five times. The bill, passed through the House on May 4 by a vote of 117 to 113, has moved on to the Senate despite its critics.
"I can't say anything good about the AHCA….I cannot," says John Meigs, Jr., MD and President of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) during an exclusive interview with Physicians Practice on Tuesday.
The AAFP is one of many medical groups including the American Medical Association (AMA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the American College of Physicians (ACP), which have voiced their concerns with the AHCA.
"To put it mildly, we are extremely disappointed, I think the bill that passed the House will increase the cost [of healthcare] for patients, increase the cost [of healthcare] for the uninsured, and put patients with preexisting conditions at greater risk of potentially losing insurance," says Meigs.
AMA President Andrew Gurman, MD, voiced similar concerns in an email to Physicians Practice, noting that the AHCA would result in millions of Americans losing access to "high-quality, affordable health insurance." Gurman also said those with pre-existing health conditions face the possibility of going back to the time when insurers could charge them premiums that were unaffordable.
Both the AMA and the AAFP would like to see the Trump Administration work to improve the ACA, instead of moving forward with the AHCA. "We hope the AHCA is dead on arrival in the Senate. We would prefer to work with existing legislation and find ways to make improvements there….let's start with a clean slate and do what needs to be done. The ACA is not perfect, we never claimed it was perfect, but, it did expand coverage," says Meigs.