Kelly Thibert, D.O., M.P.H., National President
American Medical Student Association
Sterling, VA – March 16, 2017: The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) has a mission that is built upon our members’ commitment to advocate for the improvement of health care and health care delivery to all people. We believe that health care is a human right and as such, we will always advocate for the rights of our patients.
AMSA supports a publicly and progressively financed, privately delivered federal single-payer system of high quality, affordable health care for all persons. In the absence of such of a single-payer system, we support a health care system which expands comprehensive coverage and access for all persons living in the United States and does not discriminate, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
In this past week we have seen the introduction of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and swift movement to begin the repeal of the ACA. As physicians-in-training, we feel it is our moral obligation to speak out on behalf of our patients who rely, survive and thrive because of the health care they are able to receive through this existing system. Replacing the ACA with this proposed plan will be disastrous for health in our country and cause unnecessary suffering of our patients.
Under the bill, the federal government will cut its commitment to Medicaid by $880 billion over 10 years, a reduction of 25% by 2026, which will effectively deprive 14 million patients of Medicaid by 2026. This, coupled with elimination of the individual mandate, would increase the number of uninsured by 14 million in 2018, 21 million in 2021, and 24 million in 2026, according to estimates of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Ultimately, the total number of uninsured when the bill is fully phased in would be 52 million Americans and this is unacceptable.
AMSA supports the aim, implementation and expansion of the Medicaid program to provide health coverage for disadvantaged, uninsured residents. We are of the opinion that the government needs to address immediate gaps in access to care including, but not limited to, a federal publicly financed public health insurance option open to all, state single-payer initiatives and expansions in eligibility and/or services in Medicaid, Medicare and State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
At a time in our country when health care was evolving to benefit our patients, when we were starting to see people who could not previously afford insurance able to tend to their health needs – we now see the administration looking to pull the carpet out from underneath these patients. These patients, who rely on their coverage to remain healthy, to maintain jobs, to care for their loved ones, to be active members of their communities. When we take away health care from our communities, we effectively take away health and the ability of all to reach their fullest potential.
We are America’s physicians of tomorrow and we value access to health care. AMSA will continue to put patients over politics and will fight for the care and rights of our patients.
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 at http://www.amsa.org.