2017-06-27 12:58:17 UTC

AGA Statement: Senate Bill Puts Patient Access to Health Care in Peril

June 27, 2017

Millions of Americans could lose health coverage if Congress passes the health-care reform bill introduced last week in the Senate.

The Senate's Affordable Care Act repeal bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, would leave 22 million more Americans uninsured over a decade, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the legislation released yesterday. That represents just a small improvement over 23 million patients affected by coverage losses over nine years that CBO estimated for the House-passed version of the repeal bill, the American Health Care Act. Steep cuts to Medicaid funding are a main driver of loss of coverage. Both bills also allow states to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits package, which includes coverage of colorectal cancer screenings.

“A core mission of AGA is to ensure that patients have access to high-quality medical care,” said Timothy Wang, MD, AGAF, AGA chair. “We have made great strides in the increase in screening and prevention of colorectal cancer, which reduces deaths and downstream health-care costs. Erecting barriers to screening will only reverse this progress.”

AGA developed a set of principles for health-care reform at the outset of the congressional debate. Patients must maintain a continuum of coverage under any new health-care system and have access to high quality, affordable health care. The budget cuts and restrictions on patient access under the congressional proposals will create tremendous burdens for the health-care system as patients will increasingly rely on practices and academic medical centers to provide uncompensated care.

What can you do?

Take Action! Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask the operator to connect you with the senators from your state and tell them:

  • Your name and hometown.
  • That you urge the senator to oppose any repeal and replace legislation that results in lost coverage, lack of access to specialty care or loss of coverage of preventive services.

AGA will be on Capitol Hill all week working with our allies to help shape an outcome that is in the best interest of gastroenterology and our patients. Patient access to quality health care, preventive screenings and specialty care are AGA priorities. Learn more in this quick video.


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