The AGA wants to keep the best of the ACA while still protecting access to coverage
In a news release on January 19, The AGA (American Gastroenterological Association) stated that ACA repeal without a replacement plan could produce millions of uninsured patients and millions of dollars in uncompensated care to providers.
The first priority of the new Congress and the incoming President’s administration is to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with an alternative plan currently under development. The AGA opposes repealing the ACA unless a viable, equitable replacement is created. The AGA’s underlying focus in this message is the protection of patients who receive insurance under the ACA, known colloquially to users and pundits alike as “Obamacare”.
Patients who have received coverage through the ACA should be able to maintain health insurance coverage without interruption. Although the ACA is far from perfect, it does include many reforms to the insurance market that provide previously uninsured patients access to medical care, in some cases for the first time.
Per the AGA’s statement, any replacement healthcare package must include the following points at minimum to make certain that patients’ access to coverage is assured:
- Ensure patient access to and coverage of specialty care.
- Ensure patient access to and coverage of evidence-based preventive screenings without cost-sharing.
- Insurers cannot discriminate because of a pre-existing condition.
- Insurers cannot discriminate based on gender.
- Parents should be allowed to keep their children on their plans until age 26.
- A ban on annual and lifetime caps.
The AGA’s concern is that repeal without a properly formulated replacement will result in millions of patients heading back to the uninsured rolls and millions of dollars in uncompensated care for providers, like gastroenterologists. The AGA believes that the government must build upon what is working with the ACA and protect patients who are currently insured and whose lives may depend on this coverage.