Medical providers need to take leadership role in U.S. health reform debate

Doctors and nurses regularly rank among the nation’s most respected professions. That’s why they need to become the loudest voices in the room as Republican efforts to replace former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act stagger forward.

In March, the Republican replacement plan — dubbed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) — failed to gather enough support within the GOP-controlled House to merit a floor vote. But discussions are still underway to find a compromise between the House Freedom Caucus, which thought the AHCA was still too generous to those who need help buying coverage, and more moderate Republicans, who thought the bill would throw too many people off insurance rolls.

As negotiations continue after the congressional spring break, updates regrettably lean toward meeting Freedom Caucus demands. A less well-understood proposal from the original plan also remains under consideration: $880 billion worth of cuts to Medicaid over 10 years. Medicaid is the state- and federally-funded safety net program that pays for the bulk of long-term care for the elderly and disabled, as well as medical coverage for the poor.

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