The Medical Association released its 2017 Legislative Agendas earlier this year, which were developed with guidance from the House of Delegates and great contribution from our physician members who participated in the 2017 Legislative Agenda Survey. The Medical Association has continued to express support for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and its replacement with an adequate system to protect not only physicians but their patients as well.
The U.S. Senate is engaged in deliberations on legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. So far these debates have one thing in common – they fail to meet the basic requirements of a solid health care plan, which does not further damage an already weakened Medicaid program or make it more difficult for low and moderate-income Americans to obtain affordable health insurance.
As from the beginning, Medical Association continues to support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and replacement with a system that:
- Includes meaningful tort reforms that maintain existing state protections
- Preserves employer-based health insurance
- Protects coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions
- Protects coverage for dependents under age 26
- With proper oversight, allows the sale of health insurance across state lines
- Allows for deducting individual health insurance expenses on tax returns
- Increases allowed contributions to health savings accounts
- Ensures access for vulnerable populations
- Ensures universal, catastrophic coverage
- Does not increase uncompensated care
- Does not require adherence with insurance requirements until insurance reimbursement begins
- Reduces administrative and regulatory burdens
The disproportionate funding model dictated by the ACA has left most states, including Alabama, sorely underfunded. Medicaid is a critical component of our health care system, covering the young and elderly. Medicaid covers more than half of Alabama births and 47 percent of our children, as well as 60 percent of Alabama’s nursing home residents. Without full funding, the Medicaid program will collapse, leaving these individuals without coverage. While uncompensated care is delivered every day in all 67 counties of this state, without Medicaid, charity care needs could skyrocket, crippling the health care delivery system and potentially placing the burden on those with private health insurance through higher premiums and co-pays.
Now’s the time to fix our broken health care system to ensure access to care for our citizens and the ability for physicians to practice medicine without overwhelming federal burdens guiding the way. The Medical Association continues to work with our Congressional Delegation during these negotiations and urges them to work together toward the passage of a viable health care solution for our residents.