Health groups: Revised GOP health bill not an improvement

The most recent changes to the GOP's healthcare plan did little to appease healthcare groups that have opposed the bill from the beginning. 

The legislation adds more money to address the opioid epidemic, aims to help insurers with expensive patients and includes an amendment from Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (R-Texas) that allows insurers to sell plans that don't comply with ObamaCare regulations, as long as they also sell plans that do. 

It also keeps ObamaCare taxes on high earners. 

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But many of the issues in the bill that could affect the most vulnerable remain unaddressed, the groups say.

The bill keeps billions of dollars of cuts to Medicaid and rolls back ObamaCare's expansion of it by 2024. 

“The revised bill does not address the key concerns of physicians and patients regarding proposed Medicaid cuts and inadequate subsidies that will result in millions of Americans losing health insurance coverage," American Medical Association President David O. Barbe said in a statement Friday. 

He noted that while more money to address the opioid epidemic is a "positive step," those suffering from substance abuse disorders "have other healthcare needs that are not likely to be addressed if they lose coverage through a rollback of the Medicaid expansion." 

American Hospital Association President Rick Pollack said the bill would mean "real consequences for real people." 

"Among them people with chronic conditions such as cancer, individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and support, and the elderly."

"Instead of merely tweaking a proposal that would harm our most vulnerable, we again call on the Senate to advance a solution aimed at protecting coverage for all Americans who currently have it. Instead of merely putting forth an update, we again call on the Senate to put forth an upgrade," he said. 

Darrel Kirch, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, said the bill falls "woefully short" in providing comprehensive, affordable coverage to Americans. 

Kirch also warned that the Cruz amendment would hurt people with preexisting conditions. 

"Allowing insurers to sell plans without meaningful coverage will hurt those with preexisting conditions and further destabilize insurance markets," he said. 

Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, also said the Cruz amendment would make healthcare coverage "worse" for those with pre-existing conditions, like cancer.

“This bill would leave patients and those with pre-existing conditions paying more for less coverage and would substantially erode the progress our nation has been trying to make in providing affordable, adequate and meaningful coverage to all Americans," he said. 

“Allowing insurance companies to sell bare-bones, tax-credit eligible, catastrophic plans would create a segmented insurance market and essentially return cancer patients, survivors and anyone with a serious illness to an underfunded high-risk pool where a patients’ out-of-pocket costs could be unaffordable and coverage potentially inadequate."