Joey Johnson, D.O.
American Medical Student Association
Yesterday the Senate GOP released yet another version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, but the bill falls short again. Dollar figure trade-offs continue to be haggled among Senators, showing a lack of serious commitment to improving health care for all Americans.
STERLING, Virginia – July 14, 2017 –With Senate recess postponed until mid-August to allow time to force the BCRA through approval at any cost, what is clear from this revision is a commitment to put tax credits and deficit debates over lives and health. Americans will be caught in the crossfire, an inevitable fact even without a new Congressional Budget Office score.
With preserved deep cuts to Medicaid and sweeping changes to its payment structure to states, low-income, disadvantaged Americans would still be left without insurance coverage. Many would be forced beyond their financial means into the private individual market that is allotted inadequate subsidies to have affordable premiums and deductibles. AMSA opposes the creation of high-deductible health plans that shift the cost of health care to consumers, many of whom cannot afford such a deductible.
An amendment proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) would establish a dual system for the individual insurance market where insurance companies must still offer comprehensive plans that adhere to essential health benefits rules from the ACA, which are appealing to sicker people. However, they could also entice healthier Americans with cheaper plans that opt-out of ACA essential health benefits—coverage most would not even count as actual insurance—reverting our health care system to an era when pre-existing conditions pooled the sick into an unaffordable, high-risk insurance death sentence. AMSA believes that current attempts to contain costs and maximize profits of the U.S. health insurance industry have left millions of people both uninsured and underinsured, with the greatest burden placed on our most needy communities.
Comprehensive care must be recognized and protected as a basic human right. Investing in the delivery of high quality health care for all is an investment in society and in the ability of our nation to respond to national emergencies and threats to our health. In the absence of a single-payer system, the expansion of Medicaid envisioned in the ACA is an essential step toward increased access to health care and health insurance. We support health care reform that expands comprehensive coverage and access for all persons living in the United States, and believe that care should include, but not be limited to primary, acute, and preventive services, universal and ready access to men’s and women’s reproductive health services, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.
By: Daniel H. Gouger, M.D., AMSA Education & Advocacy Fellow
About the American Medical Student Association:
AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. To learn more about AMSA, our strategic priorities, or joining the organization, please visit us online.