The American Medical Association on Tuesday rejected the newest ObamaCare repeal bill and called on Senate Republicans to continue working on a bipartisan short-term market stabilization bill.
In a letter to the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the important doctors’ group also urged the Senate to “reject any other legislative efforts that would jeopardize health insurance coverage for tens of millions of Americans.”
Instead, the group called on Republicans to work on a bipartisan effort to keep subsidy payments to insurers. President Trump has threatened to stop those subsidies, which compensate insurers for decreasing the out-of-pocket costs of low-income customers.
Ending the payments would probably lead to chaos in the private insurance market. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have been writing a bill to provide the payments in the short term while also offering states more flexibility.
With Senate leadership giving its support to the last-chance ObamaCare repeal, it’s not clear if that effort will continue.
Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are the primary co-sponsors of the new bill. The legislation would end the funding for ObamaCare’s subsidies to help people afford coverage and the funding for Medicaid expansion, instead using that money to give block grants to states. Democrats warn the block grants would be far too small and would lead to cuts in Medicaid and other important health spending.
The bill would also allow states to ignore ObamaCare rules, including the prohibition on people with pre-existing conditions getting charged higher premiums.
“Similar to proposals that were considered in the Senate in July, we believe the Graham-Cassidy amendment would result in millions of Americans losing their health insurance coverage, destabilize health insurance markets, and decrease access to affordable coverage and care,” AMA CEO and Executive Vice President James Madara wrote.
The AMA was also against the “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill that failed in July, cleverly calling it a “toxic prescription.”