Vows to Continue Advocacy to Preserve the ACA and Its Essential Coverage and Patient Protections
Nitin S. Damle, MD, MS, MACP
President, American College of Physicians (ACP)
January 13, 2017
The American College of Physicians (ACP) is further dismayed at today’s House vote, which sets in motion the first step in the process of repealing essential coverage and patient protections established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACP emphasizes, however, that this week’s Senate and House actions, while potentially posing a grave threat to coverage for tens of millions of people does not by itself repeal the ACA; subsequent legislation will need to be voted on to repeal, replace or modify the ACA. This will provide opportunities for ACP and the many others committed to coverage to continue the fight to preserve the ACA and its key coverage and patient protections.
ACP has warned Congress that repealing the ACA will lead to massive losses of coverage and consumer protections for people enrolled in commercial insurance markets and in the Medicaid program, slow the movement to value-based payment reforms, force seniors to pay more for their prescription drugs, and undermine initiatives to prevent illnesses and promote public health. If the ACA is repealed, every state in the country will experience big increases in the uninsured rate, uncompensated care, and potential loss of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. ACA repeal would also add more than $9 trillion to the public debt unless offset by cuts to Medicare, Social Security and other programs.
ACP is committed to doing everything it can to stop Congress from rolling back the historic coverage and protections established by the ACA, and to hold Congress accountable for any votes to take away coverage and protections established by the law.
Further, ACP will evaluate any proposals to repeal, replace or modify the ACA based on whether they would result in improvements in coverage, access, and protections for patients.
To this end, ACP has provided Congress with a list of 10 key questions that should be used when evaluating suggested changes to the ACA. The questions are intended to ensure that proposed changes will ‘first, do no harm:’ at a minimum, patients must be no worse off than the coverage and consumer protections available under current law and preferably, better off.
Finally, ACP urges that no vote be taken in Congress that would actually repeal the ACA and its coverage and patient protections, in whole or in part, absent Congress offering a detailed explanation and legislative language of any proposals to replace or modify the law, with sufficient time and opportunity for public input including congressional hearings, to determine whether it would improve coverage and consumer protections or undermine them compared to current law.
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States. ACP members include 148,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.
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