Washington, DC — Representing more than a half-million of America's frontline physicians and medical students, leaders from six major medical organizations including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Osteopathic Association and the American Psychiatric Association, issued the following joint statement about the revised version of the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act:
We are relieved that this bill, which would have done so much harm to so many will not be voted on this week because the U.S. Senate failed to gain a majority in favor. The policies put forward in the Graham-Cassidy bill would have dramatically increased the number of uninsured in our country. The bill would have put vulnerable patients with pre-existing conditions at risk of being priced out of health insurance. It would have taken away patients‘ assurances that their health insurance would cover essential benefits like maternity care and mental health services.
We urge the Senate and the House to move on, for good, from their efforts to roll back coverage. Instead Congress should strive for bipartisan agreement, through regular order, to make improvements to our health care system.
As outlined in testimony that we sent to the Senate HELP committee, we believe there are bipartisan solutions that would strengthen and improve the health insurance market. Immediately, we believe that Congress must do what they can to execute open enrollment in a good faith manner. Millions of Americans remain unaware of the types of assistance available to help them afford and enroll in health insurance. Congress must adequately fund education and outreach efforts to tell consumers about the assistance available to them.
We also call on Congress to take immediate action to enact a five-year extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in order to ensure that our patients have ongoing access to this crucial affordable and comprehensive coverage option. Federal CHIP funding is set to expire at the end of the week. Failure to extend funding would put health coverage for millions of children and pregnant women in jeopardy.
Physician leaders from our organizations will be on Capitol Hill tomorrow meeting with members of the Senate to tell them why these things are of critical importance to the health of our nation. We look forward to working with Congress on these immediate concerns and on other health care reforms that would improve and not harm the health of all Americans.
About the American Academy of Family Physicians
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that's 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America's underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine's cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions (5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP's award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).
About the American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 152,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.
About the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation's leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women's health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion. www.acog.org
About the American Osteopathic Association
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents more than 129,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools. Visit DoctorsThatDO.org to learn more about osteopathic medicine.
About the American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association is the oldest medical association in the country founded in 1844. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. Follow us on Twitter at @APAPsychiatric. For more information please visit www.psychiatry.org.