MGMA 2017: Overwhelming majority have no confidence Washington can fix U.S. healthcare

Only 1% of MGMA had high confidence that lawmakers can fix the U.S. healthcare system.

Members of the Medical Group Management Association don’t have a lot of confidence in the ability of Washington politicians to sort out the country’s healthcare problems.

MGMA asked members in a STAT poll conducted Tuesday “What is your level of confidence in Congress to fix U.S. healthcare?”

Anders Gilberg
Anders Gilberg

Of the 1,500 members who responded, 89% said their confidence was low that politicians could sort out the problems, according to Anders Gilberg, the MGMA’s senior vice president of government affairs, as he spoke on closing day of the group’s annual conference in Anaheim, California. Another 10% expressed moderate confidence and only 1% had high confidence.

“It’s really shocking there’s this 1% here,” Gilberg joked, as he provided the audience with an updated view from Washington.

Those who said their confidence level was low used words like “partisan, disappointed, incompetent and political” to explain the reasons why, Gilberg said. Among those who were moderately confident, “some of you are still hopeful. I would count myself in that group,” he said.

But the instability in Washington is not good for healthcare, he said.

Since 2010, Republicans have made more than 70 attempts to replace or modify the Affordable Care Act, Gilberg said. Those included at least 60 proposed bills last year and five attempts to repeal the ACA since March. All failed to get the needed votes, but the uncertainty creates instability.

State insurance regulators are now submitting rates to the federal government for next year, with many showing large increases in premiums for the cost of health plans. In Florida, the state has asked for a 45% increase, while Georgia is asking for approval of a 57% increase.

“Bipartisan efforts to stabilize the system are resurfacing, but the instability remains,” he said.

As Republicans turn their attention to tax reform, Gilberg said he doesn’t think efforts to repeal and repeal the ACA will happen anytime soon. But the efforts are being dubbed the zombie bill because every time Congress kills a replacement bill, it keeps coming back to life, he said.