American Medical Association urges GOP to go 'back to the drawing board'

American Medical Association urges GOP to go 'back to the drawing board'
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The head of the American Medical Association (AMA) delivered a sharp warning Thursday to congressional Republicans, telling them to go “back to the drawing board” on their ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill and warning that the bill's current version would take needed coverage away from people. 

Dr. Andrew Gurman, the president of the AMA, the country’s largest doctors group, delivered an “urgent call to congressional leaders to go back to the drawing board” on their bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, legislation the GOP has dubbed the American Health Care Act. 

The event at the National Press Club featured officials from the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association, who also voiced opposition to the House GOP healthcare bill. 

Gurman pointed to “grim” estimates on the House GOP bill from the Congressional Budget Office, which found that 24 million more people would be uninsured by 2026. 

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ObamaCare has provided coverage to 20 million new people, Gurman noted, and “the AMA’s highest priority is to ensure that these individuals maintain their coverage.”

Gurman also warned against large cuts to Medicaid under the House GOP bill and said the new tax credits should be based on income to give more help to low-income people. The tax credits in the bill are currently based on age, not income.

These healthcare groups are just some of many that have opposed the House GOP legislation, including all of the major hospital associations. 

Still, Gurman said that while the AMA has been engaged with members of Congress throughout the process, there are currently no plans to step up efforts in a “blitz,” though he noted that those plans could change. 

Officials from the heart, cancer and diabetes groups also warned against Republican plans to weaken ObamaCare’s “essential health benefits,” which require insurers to cover a range of certain healthcare services. 

“The mantra is that people who don’t have insurance live sicker and die younger,” Gurman said.