AMA urges senators not to abandon bipartisan stabilization talks

AMA urges senators not to abandon bipartisan stabilization talks
© Greg Nash

The American Medical Association on Tuesday rejected the latest ObamaCare repeal bill and called on Senate Republicans to keep working on a bipartisan short-term market stabilization bill.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell expects Paul to return to Senate next week Former Hill staff calls for mandatory harassment training Gaming the odds of any GOP tax bill getting signed into law MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump is right: The visa lotto has got to go Schumer predicts bipartisan support for passing DACA fix this year No room for amnesty in our government spending bill MORE (D-N.Y.), the influential doctors' group also urged the Senate to “reject any other legislative efforts that would jeopardize health insurance coverage for tens of millions of Americans.”

Instead, the group urged Republicans to work on a bipartisan effort to continue subsidy payments to insurers. President Trump has threatened to withhold those subsidies, which compensate insurers for lowering the out-of-pocket costs of low-income customers.

Ending the payments would likely lead to chaos in the private insurance market. Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderObamaCare becomes political weapon for Democrats Senate passes resolution requiring mandatory sexual harassment training Sen. Warren sold out the DNC MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayA bipartisan bridge opens between the House and Senate Overnight Health Care: ObamaCare sign-ups surge in early days Collins, Manchin to serve as No Labels co-chairs MORE (D-Wash.) have been working on a bill to provide the payments in the short term while also giving states more flexibility.

With Senate leadership throwing its support behind the last-chance ObamaCare repeal, it’s unclear if that effort will continue.

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Sens. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyOvernight Health Care: Trump officials to allow work requirements for Medicaid GOP senator: CBO moving the goalposts on ObamaCare mandate CNN to air sexual harassment Town Hall featuring Gretchen Carlson, Anita Hill MORE (R-La.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCNN to air sexual harassment Town Hall featuring Gretchen Carlson, Anita Hill Trump wrestles with handling American enemy combatants Flake: Trump's call for DOJ to probe Democrats 'not normal' MORE (R-S.C.) are the main co-sponsors of the new bill. The legislation would end funding for ObamaCare’s subsidies to help people afford coverage and the money for Medicaid expansion, instead using that money for block grants to states. Democrats warn the block grants would be too small and would lead to cuts in Medicaid and other health spending.

The bill would also allow states to waive ObamaCare rules, including the prohibition on people with pre-existing conditions being charged higher premiums.  

“Similar to proposals that were considered in the Senate in July, we believe the Graham-Cassidy amendment would result in millions of Americans losing their health insurance coverage, destabilize health insurance markets, and decrease access to affordable coverage and care,” AMA CEO and Executive Vice President James Madara wrote.

The AMA also opposed the “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill that failed in July, calling it a "toxic prescription.”