Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society Opposes the American Health Care Act

Massachusetts Medical Society Opposes the American Health Care Act

James S. Gessner, MD, President of the Massachusetts Medical Society, released the following statement regarding the American Health Care Act (AHCA):

“The Massachusetts Medical Society strongly opposes the American Health Care Act. Although we do not know exactly how many thousands of people would be impacted, it is clear that by placing a cap on federal Medicaid funding, the bill would force many low-income people in the Commonwealth to lose their health coverage.

“Even more beneficiaries would lose Medicaid permanently under the punitive provision that prevents patients from re-enrolling after a break in eligibility. People with inconsistent incomes, for example seasonal workers, would lose the coverage they need in financially challenging times.

“In addition, without important Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies, many residents who have been able to afford reliable health care coverage would no longer be able to do so. Not only does this force many working Americans to live without the regular access to care – such as regular checkups and early diagnoses – that can prevent higher long-term costs, it also takes away their peace of mind.

“Of significant concern is the abolishment of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides the Commonwealth with an estimated $18 million earmarked for strategies to protect and promote the well-being of our residents. This fund allows important work in response to public health crises, such as the recent Zika virus outbreak, and efforts to combat preventable chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. It funds life-saving vaccines for both children and adults in need. And, of particular importance in Massachusetts, funds from this program are dedicated to addressing the ongoing opioid crisis by supporting providers in their efforts to monitor and control opioid prescribing.

“As physicians, members of the MMS know what happens when our patients do not benefit from comprehensive coverage and preventive efforts: people become sicker, our communities suffer, and overall health care costs rise as early diagnosis and treatment are replaced by acute care response.

“Under the American Health Care Act, patients here in the Commonwealth and across the country will fall through the cracks – and the patients who will be most impacted are also the most vulnerable.

“The ACA has helped to create a system that promotes well-being and peace of mind for our neighbors in need. That’s why the Massachusetts Medical Society continues to support the Affordable Care Act, and why we are opposed to the American Health Care Act.

“We thank the members of our Congressional delegation for their ongoing support for the ACA, and today commend Representatives Richard Neal and Joseph Kennedy for their voices in opposition to the AHCA this week before the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, respectively.”

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