March 22, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Access to Care Advocacy Health Care Reform
On Thursday, March 23, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the ACA repeal and replace bill – the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The California Medical Association (CMA) has significant concerns and we urge you to call your Member of Congress immediately. Ask them to preserve the current Medicaid program and improve access to doctors by increasing Medicaid rates.
The AHCA would make finding a doctor even more difficult – the current legislation does nothing to improve access to doctors by addressing the low Medicaid payment rates or requiring that health plans have adequate physician networks.
It repeals the Medicaid expansion, which now covers 3.7 million low-income adults in California.
It caps federal Medicaid funding for children, pregnant women, the elderly and disabled, which results in substantial budget cuts.
The private sector tax credits are age-based, not income-based, which makes it difficult for low-moderate income families to afford coverage so many become uninsured again.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) unveiled the impact of the AHCA, and the prognosis isn’t good: 24 million fewer Americans will have health insurance within 10 years – at least 3 million Californians will lose coverage.
Medicaid funding is cut by $880 billion ($13 billion in California), which would doom California to low physician payment rates and higher hurdles for patients to access care. The bill shifts the financial burden to the states, and ultimately physicians, who are on the front lines caring for these patients every day. Emergency Departments would become more overwhelmed.
Most of the 5.3 million Californians who gained coverage under Medicaid and Covered California are at-risk, particularly in the Central Valley, the Inland Empire and the northern rural regions of California, where as many as 75 percent of the residents are newly insured. If you’re a practicing physician in those regions, it’s especially important to contact your representative today. The Medicaid expansion alone has generated $1.7 billion in economic activity in California.Preserve existing Medicaid coverage;Preserve income-based tax creditsImprove access to doctors by increasing Medicaid physician payment rates to Medicare levels.
For all of these reasons, CMA cannot support the AHCA. Congress should go back to the drawing board and make significant changes to ensure that Californians who have health insurance do not lose their coverage and patients can see a doctor when they need one.
Please call your representative TODAY.
Urge your representative to change the American Health Care Act to:
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