Congress: Keep Americans Covered

Jul 22, 2017 by

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Without coverage, people often delay getting the care they need, turning a manageable condition into a dangerous and costly emergency.

When Congress began considering health care reform, including reforms to Medicaid, the AAMC outlined three key principles we hoped to see included in a reform bill, which we continue to stand behind:

  1. It should maintain or improve current levels of health care coverage.
  2. It should happen as part of a deliberate and thoughtful implementation process.
  3. It should strengthen Medicaid, not weaken it.

Unfortunately, the Senate bill doesn’t include any of these principles. Rather than stabilizing the health care marketplace, this legislation will upend it by crippling the Medicaid program while also placing untenable strain on states and providers.

The Issue

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We are extremely disappointed by the Senate bill. Despite promises to the contrary, it will leave millions of people without health coverage, and others with only bare bones plans that will be insufficient to properly address their needs. As the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals see every day, people without sufficient coverage often delay getting the care they need. This can turn a manageable condition into a life-threatening and expensive emergency. AAMC-member teaching hospitals represent only 5% of hospitals nationally, but we see a much larger percentage of patients on Medicaid and who don’t have insurance. We provide 24% of all Medicaid hospitalizations and 33% of all hospital charity care.

We know what so many people losing coverage will look like:

  • Patients will delay or forego necessary care, leading to more complex conditions, higher costs and overwhelmed emergency departments
  • Costs will increase for all patients due to an increased number of uninsured
  • Without corresponding support for the health care safety net, more uninsured individuals would cause a ripple effect on regional health care networks due to a lack of corresponding support
  • Teaching hospitals will be forced to limit investments in job creation, critical services, and training the next generation of all health professionals

The AAMC is not against health care reform, but, as medical professionals, we are against health care reform that leads to fewer people having coverage—and lower-quality coverage for people who are insured.

 

For more information on the AAMC’s efforts regarding health care reform, click here.

 

 

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