NCMS Takes Firm Stand on Federal Health Care Legislation

capitol-buildingAs the debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka Obamacare continues to unfold in Washington, DC, you can be assured that your medical society has been working diligently on Capitol Hill and with local and national stakeholder groups to make sure any legislation protects — and enhances— your patients’ access to affordable, high quality care.

North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) President Paul R.G. Cunningham, MD, NCMS CEO Robert W. Seligson and longtime NCMS member and past president of the North Carolina Pediatric Society and the American Pediatric Society David T. Tayloe, MD, were on Capitol Hill last Thursday, meeting with Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, when Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) unveiled revisions to the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). The BCRA subsequently has been removed from consideration having failed to gain enough support among Republican Senators to bring it to debate.

Our top priority is to maintain or improve upon the number of North Carolinians who have affordable, meaningful insurance coverage. We asked the Senators to reconsider any per capita cap on Medicaid funding to states and cuts to the ACA Prevention Fund, which includes money for the NC State Health Department, a preventative health block grant, immunization programs, and heart disease program.

Just after Senate leadership unveiled its revised plan to repeal and replace the ACA, the NCMS and the North Carolina Hospital Association (NCHA) sent a joint letter to Sens. Burr and Tillis outlining our opposition to the proposal. Read the letter. When the initial legislation was introduced several weeks ago, the NCMS joined with nine other state medical societies throughout the country in a letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer (D-NY) opposing that version of the legislation. Read the Coalition letter.

“The whole approach needs to change,” NCMS President Dr. Cunningham said after the BCRA failed to be deliberated by the full Senate. “If this whole exercise is important, it will require patience and persistence by somebody in leadership. And who is leading this — doctors, health care organizations, insurers, third party providers?”

The AMA, many state medical societies and health care organizations as well as insurers opposed the BCRA for reasons similar to the NCMS — loss of state funding to care for the most vulnerable citizens and reduced coverage for many.

While the lawmakers in Washington, DC, have yet to decide whether or how to pursue changes or repeal of the ACA, the NCMS remains in communication with our Senators and Congressional Representatives on a regular basis with personal visits, and ongoing meetings with legislative staff and phone calls. At the most effective time, we will call on you to contact our Senators and Representatives.

Please feel free to add your comments below.


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  • Ella Nix, BSN, RN, CPHIMS

    Congress has tried dozens of times to repeal the ACA since 2009, lets just focus on modifications. Under Obamacare Dr. Foster, everyone must do 1 of 3 things: purchase coverage, pay a sliding fee penalty for not purchasing coverage, OR meet one of the exemptions.
    I don’t believe those three choices coercive. Additionally, the number of people who have chosen to not purchase coverage since Obamacare confirms the freedom of choice.

    Agreed Dr. Foster, that regulations hamstring the health insurance companies from competing freely, effectively AND transparently all over the US. We need more insurance company competition and some type of limits on drug pricing. ($37,000/year for Regeneron’s Rx for Atopic Dermatitis?! Is it really appropriate for Any insurance company to cover this drug’s price? Who dies of atopic dermatitis? I hope long term high dose oral Vitamin E is in the step therapy!)

    Have insurance companies AND/OR brokers used Obamacare as an excuse for price increase when that’s not really The Cause? Think Tanks are having trouble ascertaining the multiple causes of premium increases since Obamacare. I don’t like being forced to pay the health insurer that my employer has ‘chosen’ for me, I want choice. I told a friend who thought her premiums were about to nearly double to change insurance brokers, and the problem went away. Thanks NCMS for all your efforts!

  • Ashleigh Owen, MD

    The NC Medical Society does NOT speak for me when it lobbies for increase in government mandates and social spending programs. Early in my training I stopped contributing to the American Medical Association because I did not feel that it spoke for me as a physician or as an American citizen. Likewise I will stop contributing to the North Carolina Medical Society if it determines that it’s agenda is purely political and on one side of the aisle. The affordable care act is anything but affordable and needs to be replaced immediately before everyone loses their health insurance.

  • Marsha Fretwell

    Time to move to Medicare for all.

  • Brad Huggins

    The number of people who lose insurance coverage because they actually PAY for their insurance and cant afford the increases in premium costs is never discussed. We have experienced a year over year increase from $1050 to $2360 per month for 2 relatively healthy people! But, thank goodness, we have maternity coverage for my post-hysterectomy 60 year old wife! Gotta get the insurance companies out of it, go back to “major medical” (higher deductible coverage) with HSA’s, let people manage the smaller costs competitively, and get costs down to where people can afford their premiums instead of gubment paying the premiums. If you can mandate auto insurance, you should be able to mandate health insurance to protect hospitals and doctors financially.
    ACA is insane and failed. For those who think single payer, read this:

  • John R. Dykers, Jr. MD, Davidson Class of 56, UNC Class of 60

    And thanks to all of you for lobbying our Senators and Congresspersons. Change our paradigm and make history.

  • John R. Dykers, Jr. MD, Davidson Class of 56, UNC Class of 60

    Can’t paste the latest draft of THE MEDICAL CARE REINVENTION ACT here, but the original is a under Medical. It resolves the dilemmas that you described and that we have all been facing and seen worsening ever since WW II. The Duke Endowment sent me to London to the Kings Fund College where I learned first hand from the apex of the National Health Service bureaucracy and then from front line practitioners in Hereford about the quicksand disaster of socialized medicine. I lived the progressive disaster of employer paid health insurance as a holdover scam from WW II wage controls that grew into an ever more voracious monster until yesterday when I accompanied Dee’s Mother to have a basal cell removed from her leg. We can do better than “Medicare for all” and remove the Damacle’s Sword of “malpractice” and improve patient care and return the non-monetary rewards to the practice of medicine.

  • William Wade Foster, M.D.

    Obama Care is a curse on America……needs to be repealed ASAP….We have medicaid for the poor, medicare for the elderly, and private insurance—often employer provided—to cover the rest.

    Tort reform is critical and eliminating state and federal government regulations that hamstring the health insurance companies from competing freely and effectively all over the USA for customers to buy what coverage customers choose to buy.

    Of course there will be more uninsured…..once the coercive laws are repealed under Obama care that MANDATED that everyone MUST purchase coverage.