MMS weighs in on Better Care Reconciliation Act

Henry L. Dorkin, MD, FAAP, President of the Massachusetts Medical Society, released the following statement regarding the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

“We do have serious initial concerns about the effect that this legislation would have on patients, especially those who are covered by Medicaid.

“Medicaid is an essential entitlement for the tens of millions of Americans who depend on it for their health, and even for their lives. This bill, just like the House bill, will permanently end Medicaid as an entitlement program, resulting in serious reductions in funding and access to care for to children, seniors and people with disabilities. Any cuts to Medicaid – even if they are delayed – will leave too many low-income, disabled, or elderly patients without the coverage on which they depend. Our health care system will be forced to return to one in which patients must choose between needed care and other essential expenses. The Massachusetts Medical Society stands by the principle that all Americans should have access to the health benefits that cover their needs.

“We cannot forget that patients who are covered by Medicaid are a part of the overall healthcare system. Dismantling the system that keeps them covered and able to access care will not only hurt them, it will represent a step back for the health care system as a whole.

“Moreover, now is not the time to impose dramatic cuts to funding for opioid treatment and recovery programs. As the opioid epidemic grows across the country – including here in the Commonwealth, where roughly 2,000 people died of opioid-related overdoses last year – we must invest in programs to stem the tide, not slash programs that can help save lives.

“We urge members of the Senate to reject this legislation and to work with their colleagues in the House to collaborate on legislation that would strengthen and sustain the Affordable Care Act, which has extended health coverage to record numbers of Americans. We thank the members of our Massachusetts Congressional Delegation for their unwavering support for comprehensive coverage for our patients.”

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