News Alert: NCMS Takes Firm Stand on Federal Health Care Legislation

July 20, 2017

From NCMS:

As the debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka Obamacare continues to unfold in Washington, DC, you can be assured that your medical society has been working diligently on Capitol Hill and with local and national stakeholder groups to make sure any legislation protects — and enhances— your patients’ access to affordable, high quality care.

North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) President Paul R.G. Cunningham, MD, NCMS CEO Robert W. Seligson and longtime NCMS member and past president of the North Carolina Pediatric Society and the American Pediatric Society David T. Tayloe, MD, were on Capitol Hill last Thursday, meeting with Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, when Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) unveiled revisions to the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). The BCRA subsequently has been removed from consideration having failed to gain enough support among Republican Senators to bring it to debate.

Our top priority is to maintain or improve upon the number of North Carolinians who have affordable, meaningful insurance coverage. We asked the Senators to reconsider any per capita cap on Medicaid funding to states and cuts to the ACA Prevention Fund, which includes money for the NC State Health Department, a preventative health block grant, immunization programs, and heart disease program.

Just after Senate leadership unveiled its revised plan to repeal and replace the ACA, the NCMS and the North Carolina Hospital Association (NCHA) sent a joint letter to Sens. Burr and Tillis outlining our opposition to the proposal. Read the letter. When the initial legislation was introduced several weeks ago, the NCMS joined with nine other state medical societies throughout the country in a letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer (D-NY) opposing that version of the legislation. Read the Coalition letter.

“The whole approach needs to change,” NCMS President Dr. Cunningham said after the BCRA failed to be deliberated by the full Senate. “If this whole exercise is important, it will require patience and persistence by somebody in leadership. And who is leading this — doctors, health care organizations, insurers, third party providers?”

The AMA, many state medical societies and health care organizations as well as insurers opposed the BCRA for reasons similar to the NCMS — loss of state funding to care for the most vulnerable citizens and reduced coverage for many.

While the lawmakers in Washington, DC, have yet to decide whether or how to pursue changes or repeal of the ACA, the NCMS remains in communication with our Senators and Congressional Representatives on a regular basis with personal visits, and ongoing meetings with legislative staff and phone calls. At the most effective time, we will call on you to contact our Senators and Representatives.

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