American Medical Association: Millions could lose coverage in GOP health plan

American Medical Association: Millions could lose coverage in GOP health plan
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The nation's largest doctors group warned Senate leaders Monday that millions of people could lose health coverage under the Republican healthcare plan.

In a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSenate healthcare bill appears headed for failure Talk of Trump pardons reverberates on Sunday shows Trump backers eye GOP primary challenges for Flake, Heller MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSchumer: Dems didn't 'tell people what we stood for' in 2016 Schumer: Dems, not Russia, are to blame for loss to Trump Repair is the only “R” word that can solve our healthcare woes MORE (D-N.Y.), the American Medical Association (AMA) pushed back against any "significant changes" to the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid programs.

The influential AMA told senators those changes "potentially threaten the ability for millions of Americans to obtain and retain coverage. It is these citizens, constituents, and patients who should be at the center of this debate."

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The House passed the Republican ObamaCare replacement plan, dubbed the American Health Care Act, earlier this month. A Congressional Budget Office analysis of an earlier version of the bill estimated that 24 million fewer people would be insured under the GOP plan.

The AMA is one of dozens of medical groups that have opposed the GOP plan. Republican senators have expressed concerns about the House bill and have met behind closed doors to construct their own version of the legislation.

"Proposals should maintain key insurance market reforms, such as coverage for pre-existing conditions, guaranteed issue, and parental coverage for young adults, as well as ... adequately fund Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other safety net programs," the AMA wrote.

Medicaid has been the biggest sticking point in Senate negotiations so far. The House bill would radically change how the program is financed, eventually cutting Medicaid spending by more than $800 billion over 10 years. It would also end the enhanced federal funding for Medicaid expansion.

"We recognize that the current law can be improved and that there are problems that need to be fixed. However, we do not support changes to the health care system that would result in health care coverage being beyond the reach of those who are currently covered, that would weaken the health care safety net, or that would compromise the ability of physicians to provide care for our patients," the AMA said.