This letter was sent to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.
CHICAGO- Sept. 13, 2017- The undersigned organizations are concerned with the proposal introduced today by Senators Cassidy and Graham, which we believe will have a negative impact on affordable coverage for patients across our nation. We would note that a similar proposal was put forth by these two Senators in July. Based on our analysis, the revised proposal may actually be worse than the original.
Our organizations, which represent over 560,000 physicians, oppose the new Graham-Cassidy bill and its approach to reforming our health care system. The proposal fails to protect the health care coverage and consumer protections available under current law. Additionally, it would create a health care system built on state-by-state variability that would exacerbate inequities in coverage and most likely place millions of vulnerable individuals at risk of losing their health care coverage.
This week, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report that shows the US uninsured rate fell to a historic low of 8.8 percent in 2016. Since enactment of the Affordable Care Act, we have seen three consecutive years of significant decreases in our national uninsured rate. We should be celebrating this accomplishment and seeking ways to extend health care coverage to those who still lack it – not pursuing legislation that would drive up the number of uninsured
Further, we are very concerned about rushing through any legislation to repeal and replace the ACA, including the Graham/Cassidy proposal, through the current budget reconciliation authorization. We have consistently called for any legislation to amend current law to be developed through regular order, with hearings, debate, and committee mark-ups, and with sufficient time for independent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), independent experts, and the clinicians and patients directly affected by the proposed changes. Especially given how disruptive and harmful the Graham/Cassidy proposal will be for patients, we oppose any effort to try to rush it through the legislative process so a vote can occur before the current reconciliation measure expires on October 1.
Instead, we call on the United States Senate to set aside the Graham/Cassidy proposal and, instead, focus on bipartisan efforts to stabilize the health insurance marketplaces, create competition among insurers, and lower the costs of health. Our organizations have provided the HELP Committee recommendations on how these goals could be achieved.
We urge your support of the bipartisan policies being developed by the HELP Committee through regular order, and stand ready to work with you and the full Senate to secure passage of legislation that would build upon the successes we have made in extending health care coverage to millions of previously uninsured individuals.
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Pediatrics
American College of Physicians
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Osteopathic Association
American Psychiatric Association
About the American Osteopathic Association
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents more than 129,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools. Visit DoctorsThatDO.org to learn more about osteopathic medicine.