Hospital, insurer trade groups urge Senate changes to AHCA

The leading trade groups for hospitals and health insurers in the U.S. are pinning their hopes on the Senate to revise the replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act that narrowly passed the House on Thursday.

America’s hospitals and health systems are deeply disappointed in the House passage of the AHCA because it will jeopardize health coverage for millions of Americans,” American Hospital Association president and CEO Rick Pollack said in a statement.We urge the Senate to restart and reset the discussion in a manner that provides coverage to those who need it and ensures that the most vulnerable are not left behind.”

The Republican-crafted American Health Care Act (AHCA) was approved by the House of Representatives Thursday on a 217-213 vote. Two previous attempts to vote were aborted when it became clear that GOP leaders were unable to sway enough moderate Republicans to support the measure. It took an amendment adding $8 billion to a high-risk pool that would subsidize coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions to win over enough GOP moderates.

Critics of the AHCA say the legislation threatens cuts to Medicare that would cause millions of Americans to lose coverage.

“More than 80 million Americans rely on the Medicaid and individual market, and they deserve affordable coverage and access to quality care,” Marilyn Tavenner, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), said in a statement after Thursday’s vote. “The American Health Care Act needs important improvements to better protect low- and moderate-income families who rely on Medicaid or buy their own coverage. We stand ready to work with members of the Senate and all policymakers, offering our recommendations for how this bill can be improved to ensure the private market delivers affordable coverage for all Americans.”

While the AHCA struggled to get through the House – despite the GOP’s 238 to 193 membership advantage over Democrats – it is expected to meet even more resistance in the Senate, where the Republicans hold a slim 52-48 majority. 

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