GOP health plan clears first hurdle

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
GOP health plan clears first hurdle

In the face of growing opposition from healthcare organizations, patient advocates, and even members of their own party, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday approved part of the GOP healthcare plan unveiled early in the week. 

“The Ways and Means Committee finished approving its portion of the legislation after 4 a.m., nearly 18 hours after it began its work on Wednesday,” the New York Times reports. “Another panel, the Energy and Commerce Committee, was still at work on its review of the legislation.”

The legislative action came in the face of mounting criticism of the GOP proposal. A letter from seven major hospital groups urged members of Congress to oppose the plan:

We are very concerned that the draft legislative proposal being considered by the House committees could lead to tremendous instability for those seeking affordable coverage. Furthermore, we are deeply concerned that the proposed Medicaid program restructuring will result in both the loss of coverage for current enrollees as well as cuts to a program that provides health care services for our most vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly and disabled.

The groups signing the letter include America’s Essential Hospitals, the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Children’s Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems.

Other organizations, including the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, and AARP, already have voiced opposition to the GOP plan, titled the American Health Care Act.

The Republican health plan, supported by President Donald Trump, faces a tough fight in the Senate, where at least four GOP senators have expressed opposition along with all Democratic senators.