OMA Response to Proposed Federal Healthcare Bill

The Oregon Medical Association continues to monitor federal proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. On May 4, the House passed its version of a bill intended to "repeal and replace" the ACA called the American Health Care Act (AHCA). On June 22, the Senate released draft details of its amended version of the House bill, calling it the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), and expressed an intention to vote on the bill by July 4.

As with previous drafts of the bill, the OMA does not believe the current proposals are consistent with OMA health reform policies of ensuring access to medical care. In their current forms, both the AHCA and BCRA appear to further reduce coverage for millions of Americans, thousands of whom would be Oregonians.

The most significant changes in the Senate bill are to the Medicaid program, which has been a joint federal-state program since 1965. Medicaid eligibility was enhanced under the ACA, and many states like Oregon chose to take advantage of federal incentives to expand its Medicaid coverage from 650,000 covered lives to now over one million Oregonians. The BCRA, however, demonstrates a clear policy intention to change the nature of the Medicaid program and how states would be funded. The end result would be that states would either have to roll back coverage under their state programs or pick up a significantly larger share of program funding.

With respect to key non-Medicaid changes, the BCRA removes taxes contained in the ACA, eliminates the mandate to obtain insurance, and changes eligibility for health insurance subsidies for low income individuals.

The OMA recognizes and supports policy concepts that utilize state and federal resources to provide all Oregonians access to an adequate level of medical services while enabling individuals to be responsible for their own needs. We do not believe the BCRA in its current form addresses those concepts and hope that Congress will continue to work to find solutions to secure the health insurance marketplace and ensure that Oregonians do not lose healthcare coverage.

We encourage our members to reach out to us if questions or concerns arise. You can reach us by emailing editorial@theOMA.org or calling 503-619-8000.

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