Nation’s Largest Doctors’ Group Slams Republican Health Care Bill

“A serious mistake.”

Health Care Protest

Protesters in Denver last week.David Zalubowski/AP

The largest association of doctors in the country released a blistering statement Monday blasting Senate Republicans’ bill to repeal Obamacare. “Medicine has long operated under the precept of Primum non nocere, or ‘first, do no harm,'” reads the letter sent by American Medical Association to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “The draft legislation violates that standard on many levels.”

The AMA’s letter is particularly scathing when it comes to the GOP’s efforts to reduce Medicaid spending by imposing cap on federal spending. “The Senate proposal to artificially limit the growth of Medicaid expenditures below even the rate of medical inflation threatens to limit states’ ability to address the health care needs of their most vulnerable citizens,” the letter says. “It would be a serious mistake to lock into place another arbitrary and unsustainable formula that will be extremely difficult and costly to fix.” The Congressional Budget Office has yet to offer its analysis of the Senate’s bill; that report is expected later Monday. When the CBO scored the similar bill passed by the House last month, it projected more than $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid spending. In all, the CBO estimated that 23 million fewer people would have insurance under the House bill than under current law.

The doctors’ group is also alarmed that the Senate bill would reduce subsidies designed to help people purchase insurance and would allows states to waive rules requiring insurers to cover a list of essential benefits and limiting out-of-pocket expenses. 

“We sincerely hope that the Senate will take this opportunity to change the course of the current debate and work to fix problems with the current system,” the letter concludes. “We believe that Congress should be working to increase the number of Americans with access to quality, affordable health insurance instead of pursuing policies that have the opposite effect, and we renew our commitment to work with you in that endeavor.”

Read the AMA’s letter below: