HomeWashington Letter2017 ▶ ATS Urges Congress to Ensure Health Coverage for All Americans
ATS Urges Congress to Ensure Health Coverage for All Americans

January 2017

This week, the ATS sent a letter to the congressional leadership urging Congress not to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) until a replacement that ensures continuous affordable health insurance coverage for Americans, including the over 20 million individuals currently insured under the law's insurance exchanges and Medicaid, has been adopted. The letter calls on Congress to retain "what is best about the ACA," notably the insurance market reforms including the pre-existing conditions exclusion, annual and lifetime limit bans and free preventive services and other reforms. The ATS also points out that the ACA has reduced uncompensated care, a significant positive outcome for hospitals.

In the letter, ATS President David Gozal, MD, states, "As a physician, like my colleagues, I took the Hippocratic Oath when I graduated from medical school.  The essential tenant of that oath is, 'do no harm.'  As president of the 16,000 members of the American Thoracic Society, I ask you to abide by the "do no harm" spirit of the Hippocratic Oath as Congress considers the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act."

The Senate is set to begin efforts to repeal the ACA the week of Jan. 9. The process, which could last months, will begin with Senate floor votes on a budget resolution that includes instructions for Senate committees to draft a repeal bill. The budget resolution, which requires a simple Senate majority of 51 votes, must then be passed by the House. Following this step, the House Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Budget committees must draft an ACA repeal bill with a similar process on the Senate side.  The ATS will continue to actively engage with Congress during the debate over health care reform on behalf of our members and patients.

Last Reviewed: October 2017