Major Medical Groups Oppose Health Care Bill, None Support It. Where are Daines and Gianforte?
Helena – Despite six of the largest health care groups in the country, representing doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies, releasing a joint statement urging the Senate to reject the latest Washington health care bill, Senator Steve Daines appears to support the bill and Congressman Greg Gianforte remains silent.
At least 70 other major health care advocacy groups oppose the bill. The Washington Post, “was unable to identify any medical associations that support the measure.”
In their statement, The American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Hospital Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Medical Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the BlueCross BlueShield Association wrote:
“We agree that the bill will cause patients and consumers to lose important protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing conditions….We agree that the bill will result in dramatic cuts to Medicaid and a funding cliff in the future…We agree that the individual insurance market will be drastically weakened, making coverage more expensive.”
The latest proposal has also been rejected by Montana hospitals, medical practitioners, and health care groups across the state. Last week, Montana Hospital Association President Dick Brown told reporters, “The Graham-Cassidy bill will jeopardize many lives that are covered today. We urge the Senate to oppose this bill and instead protect the health coverage of vulnerable Montanans.”
A preliminary score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that "millions" of Americans would lose coverage.
And yet, despite the overwhelming opposition by doctors, hospitals, insurance groups, advocacy organizations, and medical experts in Montana and around the country, Senator Steve Daines appears to support the bill. Congressman Greg Gianforte hasn’t said a word publicly about this proposal, or any of the others his Party has introduced this year.
“The newest Washington health care bill is opposed by doctors, hospitals, patients, insurance companies, and health care advocates in Montana and across the country,” said Nancy Keenan, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party. “The devastating effects of this legislation for families is crystal clear to almost everyone, except apparently Steve Daines, Greg Gianforte, and their Party bosses.”
The newest Washington health care bill would:
- “Radically restructure and deeply cut Medicaid,” threatening coverage for more than 70,000 Montanans;
- Eliminate tax-credits that help more than 40,000 Montanans afford health insurance;
- Jeopardize protections for people with pre-existing conditions, allowing insurers to charge sick people higher premiums for the same coverage;
- Make it harder for women to get insurance coverage for abortion and easier for states to eliminate requirements mandating insurance companies cover maternity care. It's described as the “worst [bill] yet for women’s health,” and would prohibit the use of federal Medicaid funds to pay for care at Planned Parenthood clinics, meaning low-income women could no longer access their services;
- Allow insurers to institute an estimated $20,450 surcharge for people addicted to opioids.