President of MMS Gives Statement Regarding the Congressional Budget Office Score on the American Health Care Act

Henry L. Dorkin, MD, President of the Massachusetts Medical Society, released the following statement regarding the Congressional Budget Office score on the American Health Care Act:

“Today’s score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office supports what the medical community had suspected: that the American Health Care Act would have seriously harmful consequences for millions of Americans, who rely on insurance coverage for their access to health care. This legislation, if enacted, would have a highly limiting effect on patient access to appropriate health care here in the Commonwealth.

“Under the Affordable Care Act, the number of people with meaningful, affordable health insurance coverage has increased, both here in Massachusetts and nationally. Through robust subsidies, guarantees for patients with preexisting conditions, and coverage of essential health benefits, health care under the Affordable Care Act ensures that significantly more patients in the U.S. are able to enjoy access to the care they need.

“However, the American Health Care Act, which the Massachusetts Medical Society strongly opposes, would strip insurance coverage from tens of millions of Americans and could leave millions more with insurance coverage that is neither comprehensive nor adequate to their needs – while increasing out-of-pocket costs. This bill would disproportionately impact the underserved and the most vulnerable among our communities. The AHCA would not improve care, but rather would erode access to care. Under the AHCA, many of our uninsured – or under-insured – patients would forego preventive health care, delaying needed treatment until a worsening condition required emergency care, thus leading to higher overall healthcare costs.

“Physicians, on the front lines of care for their patients, understand that insurance coverage is not meaningful if patients aren’t able to access the care they need.

“Unfortunately, the American Health Care Act is not the only threat to health care in the U.S. The President’s proposed budget would slash programs that that are critical to the health of our patients, including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Further, cuts in the budget would make it harder for women, especially low-income women, to benefit from needed family planning and wellness services. It would also cut funding to programs that help to reduce health disparities due to social determinants of health, for example by providing needed sustenance to those living without adequate food to eat.

“Long-term, the budget would cut important funding to the National Institutes of Health, stymying the ability of the medical research community to bring us innovative cures in the future for diseases which today are untreatable.

“We urge Congress to turn its attention to preserving the stability of the Affordable Care Act, improving that law where experience dictates, and working toward a shared vision of innovative health care in America.  Our goal is meaningful health care coverage for all.”

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