‘Unacceptable:’ Doctors and patient advocates slam the Senate Republicans’ healthcare plan (again)

Doctor patient

Doctors and patient groups still aren’t happy with the updated version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act that Senate Republicans released Thursday.

The groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, and American Hospital Association, are critical of Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Among the changes to the new bill are that more funds will be set aside for the opioid crisis, and a provision that would allow people to pay for premiums using a health savings account. The update also includes an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee that critics say could make plans with adequate coverage unaffordable to those who have certain medical conditions.

The updated bill, like one passed by the House of Representatives, rolls back many of the provisions of Obamacare, including taking deep cuts from the Medicaid program.

Here’s what the groups thought of the bill

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents 66,000 pediatricians, opposed the BCRA the first time around, citing the changes to Medicaid. 

“The bill includes misleading ‘protections’ for children by proposing to exempt them from certain Medicaid cuts,” Dr. Fernando Stein, president of the AAP, said in a statement in June. “A ‘carve-out’ for children with ‘medically complex’ health issues does little to protect their coverage when the base program providing the coverage is stripped of its funding.” 

After the updated draft was released, the tone was the same. “The new Senate bill still fails children,” the organisation tweeted.

 The American Lung Association wasn’t happy with the impact of the revised bill on preexisting conditions.

The American Heart Association, along with American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Lung Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, March of Dimes, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Health Council, National Organisation for Rare Disorders, WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease came out with a joint statement against the revisions, specifically the Cruz amendment. 

“Under the amendment, insurance companies would be allowed to charge higher premiums to people based on their health status — in addition to opting out of other patient protections in current law, such as the guarantee of essential health benefits and the prohibition on annual and lifetime coverage caps. Separating healthy enrollees from those with pre-existing conditions will also lead to severe instability of the insurance market. This is unacceptable for our patients.”

The American Hospital Association, which represents thousands of hospitals and health systems, still wasn’t happy with the cuts to the Medicaid program. 

“Unfortunately, in the latest update released today, the unacceptable flaws of BCRA remain unchanged, and there are no significant changes to the massive Medicaid reductions,” AHA President Richard Pollack said in a statement on Thursday.