Family physicians strongly advocate for patients’ access to health care coverage and to primary medical care. As Congress undertook legislative efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the American Academy of Family Physicians worked to defeat proposals that increased Americans’ health insecurity by increasing costs and depriving patients of health coverage due to age, economic status or health status.
The AAFP will continue to advocate for patient access to care as Congress takes up new legislation to improve the ACA or replace current law through new legislation. That advocacy is based on the Joint Recommendations on Priorities for Coverage, Benefits and Consumer Protections Changes—February 2, 2017, developed by the AAFP, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Osteopathic Association, and American Psychiatric Association.
Throughout the repeal-and-replace legislative effort, the AAFP communicated its position with House leadership and members, Senate leadership and members, and the Trump administration. The AAFP and its colleagues in the Group of Six coalition will continue to advocate for implementing its joint recommendations as Congress considers future health care legislation.
The House of Representatives acted first on repeal-and-replace legislation by passing the American Health Care Act. This bill, as amended, would have allowed states to opt out of ACA benefit and patient protection provisions.
The Senate undertook consideration of legislation to repeal and replace the ACA the week of July 24, 2017. During debate of the AHCA, four major amendments—the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, the Medicare for All, and the Better Care Reconciliation Act Skinny Repeal—failed.
On July 28, 2017, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray announced that they would pursue bipartisan “fixes” to the ACA through their Committee. In the days since, there has been a growing call for Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to repair the ACA, versus repealing the law.