American Medical Association condemns House healthcare bill passage

The nation's largest doctors group blasted the House Thursday for passing a GOP measure repealing large parts of ObamaCare, warning that the bill could turn back the clock on protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.

"The bill passed by the House today will result in millions of Americans losing access to quality, affordable health insurance and those with pre-existing health conditions face the possibility of going back to the time when insurers could charge them premiums that made access to coverage out of the question," American Medical Association (AMA) President Andrew Gurman said in a statement.

He added that the country's healthcare system is in need of improvement, and that his group is ready to work with the Senate and Trump administration on making changes. 

"The AMA urges the Senate and the Administration to work with physician, patient, hospital and other provider groups to craft bipartisan solutions so all American families can access affordable and meaningful coverage, while preserving the safety net for vulnerable populations,” he said.

The AMA had already denounced the American Health Care Act, which passed the House by a narrow margin on Thursday. Thursday was Republicans' second attempt in less than two months to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The initial version of the measure failed in March amid dwindling support by Republicans. That prompted a number of amendments to the bill aimed at making it more palatable for both conservatives and moderates.

Among those additions was a provision allowing states to waive ObamaCare's rule blocking insurance companies from charging customers with pre-existing conditions more for coverage. To appease moderates, another amendment setting aside $8 billion over five years to help such patients afford coverage.

But questions remained about the measure, particularly about how many people could possibly lose coverage if it is signed into law. House GOP leaders called the bill to a vote before the Congressional Budget Office came out with an assessment of its cost and impact.

The CBO's original score of the AHCA in March estimated that roughly 24 million people would lose coverage under the law over the next 10 years.

The next major hurdle for the bill is in the Senate, where some Republicans have voiced skepticism over the current measure. Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynSenate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump GOP senators introduce bill to prevent family separations at border Senate GOP tries to defuse Trump border crisis MORE (R-Texas) suggested that the bill could see a significant makeover in the Senate.