American Society of Anesthesiologists - Health Care Reform Update

Health Care Reform Update

As indicated in our May 4, 2017 letter to ASA members, after the House approved the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Congressional debate on health care reform legislation escalated as it advanced to the Senate. Senate leadership has indicated its intent to take a more deliberative approach to reform.  Based on feedback from some members of the Senate, ASA anticipates that the Senate will make significant changes to the AHCA before both Houses would be likely to pass the legislation. 

From the initiation of the Presidential Transition to the most current discussions about the AHCA, ASA’s physician leaders and lobbying team have continued to engage Administration and Congressional stakeholders, including Congressional leadership, in constructive discussions comparing proposed legislation to our ASA Health Care Reform Principles.  

In anticipation of attempts to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”), early in 2017, ASA leadership appointed the ASA Ad Hoc Committee on Health Care Reform, chaired by Neal Cohen, M.D., in order to amplify our daily vigilance and engagement in this crucial area, and to preemptively craft our ASA Health Care Reform Principles which have been conveyed to all decision makers with whom we have engaged. While other organizations took public positions on the House version of the ACHA, your ASA leadership chose very strategically not to do so.  Since the amended House legislation was never analyzed by the committees of jurisdiction nor the Congressional Budget Office, and because stakeholders anticipated that the House version had no chance of being passed by the Senate without major changes, it seemed both premature and unwise to take a strong position in the middle of what is an extremely dynamic process. 

Now that the Senate is beginning to address the legislative changes to the ACA, your ASA leadership and lobbying team will resume previous ongoing discussions with key legislators reemphasizing our ASA Health Reform Principles.  In anticipation of these discussions, we have refined the ASA Health Care Reform Principles that will be communicated to Congress by physician anesthesiologists swarming Capitol Hill during our ASA Legislative Conference next week. 

As the views of physician anesthesiologists are valued in this vital work, ASA members are encouraged to share their questions, suggestions and concerns at: advocacy@asahq.org  Additional information about health care reform is available here.

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