Med school leaders urge Trump, Congress to spare Obamacare

The Association of American Medical Colleges issued a statement Friday urging President-elect Trump and Congress not to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Darrell G. Kirch, the President and CEO of the AAMC, cautioned the elected officials against repealing Obamacare without simultaneously enacting legislation that would maintain current coverage levels.

“Repealing the ACA without a replacement, even if the implementation of such a repeal were delayed, would be very disruptive,” the statement asserts. “For example, recently insured patients with complex conditions require stability and continuity in their care.”

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“If the exchange marketplace is disrupted, their inability to afford other coverage could cause them to forego or delay necessary medical care,” Kirch adds, arguing that “delayed alternative coverage and stability could harm teaching hospitals’ ability to provide complex, coordinated care to the nation’s most vulnerable patients.”

Contending that “high-quality, affordable health insurance should be available to all,” the statements insists that “the health care safety net must be maintained until other affordable and high-quality expansions are available,” specifically mentioning increased government investments in physician training and reimbursement as imperative.

Kirch says that the administration and Congress should commit to constructing a plan that provides “comprehensive reform that guarantees similar or better coverage for those who lose it;” keeps the Medicaid expansion intact, and “works with healthcare stakeholders to help develop any reform package to set the tone for collaborative policymaking discussions, and quell the uncertainty currently roiling the healthcare industry.”

Campus Reform reached out to the AAMC for comment, but was simply directed back to the statement and press release.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, however, expressed criticism of the AAMC’s statement, arguing that the ACA itself is responsible for far greater dislocations in the healthcare industry than those concerning the AAMC.

“It is interesting that AAMC had no similar concerns about the massive disruptions that ACA inflicted and continues to inflict,” Dr. Jane Orient, the executive director of the AAPS and a general internist in solo practice, told Campus Reform. “I believe AAMC has ‘coverage’ confused with care.”

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“I think the repeal of ACA insurance mandates would permit the development of much less expensive alternatives, so currently insured persons could replace their outrageously expensive ACA-compliant plan with something reasonable—for example, a plan that enables patients to choose their doctor and hospital instead of being forced into narrow networks that may well disrupt continuity,” Orient explained.

“If a patient needs care, it would be much less expensive to pay for care directly than to funnel money through a third party, which will add at least 15 percent to the cost and probably much more,” she concluded. “Surely AAMC should know that patients are NOW delaying or declining care because of the combinations of high deductibles AND high premiums.”

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