American Psychiatric Association Calls for Senate to ‘Do Right Thing for Patients’ in Wake of AHCA House Passage

By http://www.sandiegopsychiatricsociety.org/author
May 7, 2017

In response to the passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by a vote of 217-213 in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 4, 2017, APA joined five other major medical organizations in releasing a statement urging the Senate to “put aside” the AHCA and instead work with them to “achieve real bipartisan solutions to improve affordability, access, and coverage for all.”

The five groups that signed onto the statement with APA were the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Osteopathic Association. They represent more than 560,000 physicians and medical students. APA was part of the same coalition of organizations that had expressed its strong opposition to the AHCA in late April.

“Before and throughout the AHCA debate, our organizations continually offered constructive ideas on achieving agreement on legislation consistent with our shared principles. Regrettably, the AHCA, as amended and passed by the House, violates our principles, dramatically increasing costs for older individuals, resulting in millions of people losing their health care coverage, and returning to a system that allows insurers to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions,” APA and the five other organizations wrote. “We also oppose the AHCA’s Medicaid cuts, including capping and cutting the federal government’s contribution to Medicaid, sunsetting federal funding for Medicaid expansion, and eliminating Medicaid coverage of essential benefits.”

In addition to encouraging the Senate to not take up the AHCA “in any form,” the statement encourages the Senate to take the following actions:

  • Work to achieve real bipartisan solutions to ensure that coverage remains affordable.
  • Stabilize the individual market.
  • Ensure long-term, adequate funding for the CHIP program.
  • Make primary, preventive, and mental health and substance use services more readily available to all Americans.
  • Lower the costs of pharmaceutical treatments.
  • Reform medical liability laws.
  • Reduce the administrative and regulatory burdens that add costs and take time away from patients.

The statement concluded, “We stand ready to assist the Congress on achieving these and other necessary improvements.”

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