Jun 13, 2017
Patient, Provider and Consumer Groups Call on Senate to Protect Patients First in Health Care Debate

WASHINGTON, DCEight prominent patient, provider and consumer advocate groups announced today they are joining forces to host a series of events in states across the country to highlight the need to protect patient access to affordable and adequate care as the health debate continues in Washington, DC. The groups, citing concerns that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) would impose additional costs and risks on many Americans, are AARP, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Hospital Association (AHA), American Medical Association (AMA), Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) and March of Dimes.

To start, the group plans to host events in Colorado, Ohio, Nevada, and West Virginia in the weeks ahead. Throughout the events, the groups will address shortcomings in four main areas: affordability of insurance, access to essential care, protection for those on Medicaid, and protections for those with employer-sponsored health insurance. The first event, to be held in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday, June 15, will feature local patients and health care providers and will be moderated by new AMA President Dr. David Barbe. Additional details for each event will be announced as they become available.

"Health care remains a deeply personal concern for American families, and together we must seek solutions that help make health care more affordable," said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. "We're pleased to join these groups and raise our voices to call on the Senate to move in a different direction so that we can improve health care for Americans."

"Access to adequate, affordable health coverage is a key determinant in surviving cancer," said ACS CAN President Chris Hansen. "We urge Senators to ensure

that any proposed changes build on critical patient protections in current law and provide equal or better coverage than what is available today. "

"People with diabetes need ongoing care to manage their disease and avoid complications," said American Diabetes Association Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Advocacy LaShawn McIver, MD, MPH. "The American Health Care Act would be devastating for millions of Americans. We are proud to join our partners in encouraging the Senate to reject its dangerous provisions and develop viable, long-term solutions that protect affordable access to quality care, especially for people with diabetes."

"With nearly half of Americans likely to develop pre-existing heart and stroke conditions in the next 20 years, access to reasonably priced, quality health care must be protected," said Nancy Brown, CEO, American Heart/American Stroke Association. "We urge the Senate to remember the voters they serve will someday be patients and will hold them accountable if the health insurance they need is not there."

"As the backbone of America's health safety-net, hospitals and health systems must protect access to care for those who need it and ensure that the most vulnerable, including children, the elderly, the disabled, and those with pre-existing conditions, are not left behind," said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. "The American Health Care Act would jeopardize health coverage for tens of millions of Americans while making deep cuts to Medicaid. We are proud to join with our partners in the health field to call on the Senate to reject this approach and to protect access to health care coverage."

"Improving the health of our nation means increasing access to high-quality, affordable health insurance coverage, which is why the reduction of coverage in the American Health Care Act is of grave concern," said AMA President elect David O. Barbe, MD.  "We urge members of Congress to Protect Patients First and pursue a bipartisan approach to reforming our health care system. Patients continue to benefit from the gains in coverage and consumer protections achieved in recent years, and we oppose legislation that diminish these gains."

"Health care reform will have an effect on the lives of every American, including pregnant women, babies, and families," stated March of Dimes President Stacey D. Stewart. "Every baby deserves a fair chance for a healthy start in life. The March of Dimes believes firmly that preserving and improving health insurance, and particularly helping women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, will improve the health of all Americans."

The groups have also put together a fact sheet about the impact the House-passed health care bill would have on Americans that can be found here and below. State-by-state impacts will be discussed at each of the upcoming events.

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About AARP
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.