American Medical Association wants GOP to develop Obamacare replacement first

The American Medical Association (AMA) is urging congressional Republicans to first develop a plan to replace Obamacare before implementing a repeal.

In a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday, the group’s CEO said that gains made in the number of Americans with health insurance coverage should be maintained.

“Consistent with this core principle, we believe that before any action is taken through reconciliation or other means that would potentially alter coverage, policymakers should lay out for the American people, in reasonable detail, what will replace current policies,” said James L. Madara.

“Patients and other stakeholders should be able to clearly compare current policy to new proposals so they can make informed decisions about whether it represents a step forward in the ongoing process of health reform,” he added.

The group made clear that it had originally supported the passage of Obamacare “because it was a significant improvement on the status quo at the time.” It also noted that it recognizes that the law “is imperfect and there are a number of issues that need to be addressed.”

In late November, AMA released a statement backing President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“The American Medical Association strongly supports the nomination of Dr. Tom Price to become the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). His service as a physician, state legislator and member of the U.S. Congress provides a depth of experience to lead HHS,” Patrice A. Harris, chair of the group’s Board of Trustees, said in a statement.

Price has advocated dismantling Obamacare and helped develop a repeal plan last year as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

The letter comes as Vice President-elect Mike Pence huddled with House Republicans on Capitol Hill Wednesday where he announced Mr. Trump plans to issue executive orders soon after taking office that are related to Obamacare.