AOA President Boyd R. Buser, DO, issued the following statement in response to the Senate health care reform bill released today.
“The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) is disappointed that the Senate chose to forego soliciting stakeholder input while crafting this legislation and the result of that decision is clear. This bill significantly decreases patients’ ability to access high quality health care, and affordable coverage for millions of Americans will be in jeopardy if the legislation is passed.
Whether patients have private or public coverage, or no coverage at all, this legislation will harm Americans across all age groups and income levels. By allowing states to opt out of coverage requirements such as the essential health benefits, the value of insurance coverage in the individual market will be lower, and those with coverage through their employer are at risk of being once again subject to lifetime or annual limits.
The Medicaid cuts will also have a devastating impact, especially in areas of our country hardest hit by the ongoing opioid epidemic. Medicaid also covers over half of the births in our country, and close to forty percent of nursing home beds. Cutting Medicaid in the manner proposed by this bill is something we cannot support.
During this discussion, the AOA has maintained that difficulty in ensuring coverage and access to affordable health care is a symptom of perpetually rising costs. The Senate bill should have prioritized prevention and care coordination, two measures proven to reduce overall costs by eliminating waste and addressing health problems at the most treatable stage. Decreasing the number of Americans with coverage as it instead does will not lower costs.
The AOA urges the Senate to instead work towards policy solutions that actually improve our nation’s health care system and ensure that all Americans, including our most vulnerable, can access affordable coverage and high quality care.”