Physician Groups Alarmed, Warn Congress About Trump Health Changes

In a formal letter to Congress, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and American College of Physicians urged Congress to fight the GOP plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Concerned about the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during the administration of President-Elect Donald Trump, organized medicine is taking a pro-active stance in hopes of preserving the law.

Access to primary care is particularly at risk, the groups said.

The American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American College of Physicians sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other leaders to urge them to think hard before repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Trump has vowed to undo the ACA.

In the Jan. 2 letter, signed by the presidents of the four organizations, the groups noted that they represent 395,000 members and "together represent the overwhelming majority of the nation's primary care physicians."

Over the past two decades, they write, there has been "tremendous progress" in getting health coverage for the uninsured, particularly children. That has happened through the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the ACA.

Repealing the ACA or scaling it back could have a "profoundly negative impact" on coverage as well as on some of the reforms that came with those programs.

The letter spells out three specific areas of concern and asks the legislators to make sure the number of uninsured is not increased, to ensure a 'viable health care safety net" and to continue the "vital patient protections in health insurance marketplace" enacted during the Obama administration.

Those include prohibitions on lifetime or annual caps on insurance company benefits, denials of coverage based on pre-existing conditions, bans on charging women higher premiums, and other changes that extended coverage and removed disparities designed to enrich insurance companies.

The letter was disclosed in news releases by the organizations.