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Sens. Collins, Cassidy unveil ACA replacement proposal

From AMA Morning Rounds, 1-24-17

The New York Times (1/23, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports that on Monday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-MA) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) unveiled “a partial replacement for the Affordable Care Act” which “would allow states to continue operating under the law if they choose.” The article says it is a “proposal meant to appeal to critics and supporters of” the ACA. Under the plan, “states could stay with the” ACA, “or they could receive a similar amount of federal money, which consumers could use to pay for medical care and health insurance.”

USA Today (1/23, Shesgreen) reports that this plan “could provide a starting point for” the debate about replacing the ACA, but it “also includes several controversial provisions – including at least temporarily keeping all the tax increases included in” the ACA “to pay for their alternative – that could be nonstarters” for the GOP.

The Wall Street Journal (1/23, Radnofsky, Hughes, Subscription Publication) reports that Democratic leaders criticized the proposal, saying that millions would lose healthcare coverage because the plan will not fully replace the ACA. The article points out that Collins and Cassidy maintained that their plan is the only one which could garner support from Republicans and enough Democrats in order to have the 60 votes necessary to pass a replacement bill in the Senate.

The AP (1/23, Fram) also reports that Collins explained “the bill is still being written, but would protect families and give insurers time to transition to new programs.”

AMA will work with Congress and the Administration to improve care, achieve better outcomes for patients, and reduce regulatory burden on physicians. AMA recently urged Congressional leaders that before any action is taken through reconciliation or other means that would potentially alter coverage, they should lay out for the American people, in reasonable detail, what will replace current policies, so patients and other stakeholders should be able to clearly compare current policy to new proposals so they can make informed decisions about whether they represent a step forward in the ongoing process of health reform. A core principle is that any new reform proposal should not cause individuals currently covered to become uninsured. See the AMA website to learn the latest about our ongoing efforts.

More on this topic…

Trump could do much to unravel ACA, but risks destabilizing insurance market

The AP (1/23, Alonso-Zaldivar) reports that President Trump has the authority to do much “on his own to unravel the Obama health care law, but some of those actions would create disruptions that undermine his administration’s early promises.” Meanwhile, other less drastic measures “could open the way for big changes, but might not get as much notice.” The article points out that ending “enforcement of tax penalties on people who remain uninsured would win Trump immediate cheers from the political right for taking down a widely unpopular requirement,” yet experts warn “it would destabilize insurance markets by allowing healthy people to opt out, raising costs for taxpayers and remaining consumers.”

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