Speed Reads


Insurance companies join doctors and hospitals in opposing the GOP health-care bill

House Republicans scored a sort of hat trick of disapproval on Thursday, when the health industry's main two lobbying groups joined the major organizations for doctors and hospitals in urging significant changes to the health-care bill they just passed. This opposition from doctors, hospitals, and insurers is "a rare unifying moment," says The New York Times.

Insurers said they were concerned about the sharp cuts to Medicaid, reduced financial support for elderly people who buy their own insurance, as well as uncertainty over payments to help insurance companies cover low-income customers. "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," Marilyn B. Tavenner, CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), said in a statement.

The large majority of health-related industries wanted changes to the AHCA — medical device manufacturers support the bill and the pharmaceutical industry hasn't weighed in — because they'll lose customers and thus money, especially from the cuts to Medicaid and other changes that will lead to employers scaling back or dropping coverage for their employees. But they also expressed deep concerns about patients and the unintended consequences of some 24 million fewer people having health insurance, under Congressional Budget Office estimates.

"To me, this is not a reform," Michael Dowling, CEO of New York's Northwell Health system, tells The New York Times. "This is just a debacle." When lots of people suddenly lose their insurance at the same time the government cuts payments to cover lower-income patients, hospitals that server poorer patients "will just be drowning completely when this happens." The American Medical Association, AARP, American Hospital Association & Federation of American Hospitals, and associations focusing on specific diseases also oppose the law as written. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation, and National Federation of Independent Business support the AHCA, while another group representing small-business owners, the Main Street Alliance, opposes it.