The American Medical Association has released a new letter slamming the Senate’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill, which surgically targets vulnerable, low-income Trump voters while leaving healthy, upper-class Republican donors intact.
Of course, Trump could tell his supporters that the bill provides a happy ending with each colonoscopy as part of its essential benefits package and 90 percent of them would buy it.
But the AMA, the largest physicians association in the U.S., has been crystal clear about just how terrible this bill is.
A few highlights from the group’s letter, which was addressed to Sens. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer:
"Medicine has long operated under the precept of Primum non nocere, or “first, do no harm.” The draft legislation violates that standard on many levels."
"Though we await additional analysis of the proposal, it seems highly likely that a combination of smaller subsidies resulting from lower benchmarks and the increased likelihood of waivers of important protections such as required benefits, actuarial value standards, and out of pocket spending limits will expose low and middle income patients to higher costs and greater difficulty in affording care."
"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. It would be a serious mistake to lock into place another arbitrary and unsustainable formula that will be extremely difficult and costly to fix."
"We are also concerned with other provisions of the legislation beyond those directly affecting insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund was, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, established to “provide expanded and sustained national investments in prevention and public health, to improve health outcomes, and to enhance health care quality.” These activities are key to controlling health care costs and the elimination of support for them runs counter to the goal of improving the health care system. We also continue to oppose Congressionally-mandated restrictions on where lower income women (and men) may receive otherwise covered health care services – in this case the prohibition on individuals using their Medicaid coverage at clinics operated by Planned Parenthood. These provisions violate longstanding AMA policy on patients’ freedom to choose their providers and physicians’ freedom to practice in the setting of their choice."
For his part, Trump tweeted this today about the GOP’s efforts to pass the legislation:
Whoa, dial back the empathy, Donald. You don’t want our enemies to think we’re weak. You’ve managed to stay an asshole for 71 years. Don’t blink now.
So on the one hand you have the most respected physicians group in the nation — the 170-year-old American Medical Association — calling the GOP’s bill draconian and counterproductive. On the other hand you have a guy who’s supporting the bill because he spent two years criticizing the ACA without ever bothering to understand it and now desperately needs a “win” on health care policy.
The AMA represents almost 225,000 physicians across the country. Trump thinks vaccines cause autism and exercise is bad for you because people, like batteries, are created with a finite amount of energy. And his own doctor looks like something J.R.R. Tolkien drew when he was drunk.
Granted, our entire country went afoul of the Primum non nocere precept back in November, so this is just piling on. But maybe we can slow the bleeding if we all make enough noise.