In visit to Capitol Hill, docs outline 5 priorities for next version of healthcare reform

Capitol Hill
Doctors have become lobbyists, appealing to lawmakers to preserve patient benefits if they repeal and replace the ACA.

Doctors became lobbyists last week, spending a day visiting Senate offices appealing to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to save important aspects of the Affordable Care Act.

Leaders from five physician organizations—the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American College of Physicians, and the American Osteopathic Association—delivered their message that Congress should improve the ACA without tossing out the provisions that benefit patients, according to a joint statement.

Presidents of the five organizations, which together represent 500,000 doctors and medical students, met with both Democratic and Republican senators.

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“America’s primary care physicians stand together in a strong message to Congress: Make sure a reformed ACA meets the needs of our patients,” Thomas Gellhaus, M.D., president of ACOG, said in the statement.

In the meetings with senators and their staff members, the organizations outlined five priorities:

  • Do not increase the number of uninsured patients
  • Protect the healthcare safety net
  • Ensure patients are protected from excessive insurance costs
  • Maintain premium subsidies
  • Protect small insurance markets

President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress  have pledged to repeal the healthcare reform law and replace it, though they haven't yet settled on what the replacement legislation will look like.

The physician organizations were adamant that patients should not be denied care because of preexisting conditions and should not be subject to lifetime caps on coverage. The provision in the ACA that allows children to be covered by a parent's plan until they reach age 26 should continue as well, they said.