Repealing ACA Without Replacing Would Jeopardize Patient Care, Health Care System

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement about efforts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA):

“Today I sent letters to President-elect Trump and Congressional leaders urging them to not repeal the ACA without simultaneously enacting legislation that maintains current coverage levels.

The AAMC has long advocated for a number of key principles as fundamental cornerstones of any successful health care reform effort:

  • High-quality, affordable health insurance should be available to all;
  • Programs to support the health care safety net must be maintained until other affordable and high-quality expansions are available;
  • A growing demand for health care services requires investments in the physician workforce, and it is imperative to strengthen federal support for graduate medical education;
  • Payments to physicians and hospitals must be sufficient to ensure continued access to care; and
  • Constraining health care spending in the long term depends on innovation in the delivery system and research to facilitate health promotion, disease prevention, and care coordination.

Repealing the ACA without a replacement, even if the implementation of such a repeal were delayed, would be very disruptive. For example, recently insured patients with complex conditions require stability and continuity in their care. If the exchange marketplace is disrupted, their inability to afford other coverage could cause them to forego or delay necessary medical care. In addition, delayed alternative coverage and stability could harm teaching hospitals’ ability to provide complex, coordinated care to the nation’s most vulnerable patients.

In my letters, I urged the administration and Congress to follow an approach that includes the following elements:

  • Commit to comprehensive reform that guarantees similar or better coverage for those who lose it;
  • Protect states, taxpayers, and Medicaid beneficiaries by not repealing the Medicaid expansion, which would leave states with fewer resources and threaten not only patients but also the safety net providers who care for them; and
  • Work with health care stakeholders to help develop any reform package to set the tone for collaborative policymaking discussions, and quell the uncertainty currently roiling the health care industry.

America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals are committed to improving the nation’s health care and leading the transformation of health care delivery through innovations in medical education, patient care, and research. The AAMC looks forward to working with Congress and the incoming administration to ensure that high-quality, high-value, patient-centered care remains available to all.”

The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.