California’s physicians urge caution with U.S. Senate health care proposal

June 22, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Health Care Reform 

The U.S. Senate today released its health care proposal, which calls for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate, as well as drastic cuts to the Medicaid program. Under the bill, Medicaid expansion would be phased out over three years and federal funding for the program would be subject to a per-capita cap. While the Senate bill delays the Medicaid cuts until 2021, the long-term Medi-Cal reductions are substantial – at least $30 billion over 10 years.

In response, the California Medical Association (CMA), representing over 43,000 physicians in all specialties and modes of practice, called on the Senate to postpone voting on this legislation and work with health care professionals to craft legislation that increases patient access to health care providers and maintains health care coverage for the more than 15 million Californians insured through Medi-Cal and Covered California.

“We urge the Senate to remember that every dollar of federal Medicaid funding supports American lives,” said CMA President Ruth Haskins, M.D. “Capping funding for essential programs like Medicaid guarantees that more Americans will delay needed care and ignore warning signs for chronic disease until it becomes a matter of life or death.”  

Patients without coverage seek more expensive care in overcrowded emergency rooms, passing costs to states, counties, health care providers and taxpayers. Nationwide, physicians would be burdened with nearly $20 billion in uncompensated care due to Medicaid cuts. These problems would be exacerbated by the reduction of subsidies currently provided to poor and middle class families, although Senate leadership made progress by reinstating income-based, geography-adjusted tax credits to help low-moderate income families afford insurance. 

“Congress should engage with physicians and other experts on the front lines caring for patients to develop legislation that protects health care coverage for our most vulnerable populations, addresses affordability and improves patient access to physicians,” said Dr. Haskins.

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The California Medical Association represents the state’s physicians with more than 43,000 members in all modes of practice and specialties. CMA is dedicated to the health of all patients in California. For more information, please visit FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.


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