January 16, 2017

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Federal Action Begins to Repeal and Replace ACA

Despite the dismay of many ACA supporters, the Republican lead Congress took initial steps last week to repeal the ACA. The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed a budget resolution by a vote of 227-198 that prevents a Senate filibuster from derailing the repeal effort. The intent of Republican Leadership is for both the Senate and the House to complete action on the budget resolution by Jan. 20 when President-elect Trump is inaugurated. Now, Republicans in Congress must decide which parts of the ACA must end and how to address the twenty million plus people who receive coverage under the ACA through the exchanges or through Medicaid expansion. President-elect Trump has urged Republican lawmakers to pass the budget and concurrently develop and pass a replacement plan. Given the enormous impact the ACA has had on virtually every part of the health care delivery and finance system, astute observers have expressed doubt that Republican leadership can develop a comprehensive plan in such a short time frame.

Maine's senior Senator Susan Collins is a pivotal player in the drama surrounding the future of the ACA and any replacement plan. The AMA and MMA have communicated with the Senator the absolute necessity to not terminate coverage for those individuals brought into coverage via the ACA. Physicians and all health care professionals are encouraged to communicate with Senator Collins as well as Senator Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin regarding your thoughts on where health care reform should be heading in our nation, which will also have a profound impact on our state.

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