The American Medical Association came out against funding caps for patients covered by Medicaid health insurance for the poor saying such a proposal would hurt their patients.
Per capita funding caps are a key idea Republican U.S. Senators are evaluating as they consider the American Health Care Act, also known as Trumpcare, as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. The AHCA narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives last month and the legislation now sits before the U.S. Senate. Those Republicans in favor of caps believe they are a good way to restrain what they see as out-of-control entitlement spending.
But doctors testified this week that they couldn’t justify support of such caps, arguing during the AMA’s policy-setting House of Delegates meeting that they would harm patient care and treatment of the poor.
“Capping Medicaid funding would be disastrous for patients by limiting medical responses to unforeseen events and medical innovations,” AMA board member Dr. Carl Sirio said during the national doctor group’s meeting, which runs through Wednesday in Chicago. “Physicians and states need the flexibility to respond. Caps would threaten coverage for vulnerable populations – especially children and those in need of a safety net – a point we have made repeatedly to policymakers in Washington.”
Doctors said capping Medicaid spending doesn’t account for cyclical changes in employment and other times when state residents enroll in the health insurance program for the poor.
Other healthcare groups including hospitals and insurers also have certain concerns about Medicaid funding caps.
In a letter last month to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah, Republican, America’s Health Insurance Plans CEO Marilyn Tavenner said “applying per capita caps to certain populations could result in unnecessary disruptions in the coverage and care beneficiaries depend upon.”
AHIP represents some of the nation’s largest health insurance companies including Anthem, Centene, Cigna, Humana and Molina. The benefits they manage for Medicaid patients are complex and caps could cause problems in managing myriad chronic medical and mental health conditions.