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ACR: AHCA does not go far enough to help Americans with rheumatic diseases

March 09, 2017

ATLANTA - American College of Rheumatology President Sharad Lakhanpal, MBBS, MD, released a statement this morning expressing concern about the American Health Care Act's (AHCA) proposed tax credits system and its failure to include a repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

"After carefully reviewing the text of the American Health Care Act, we are encouraged to see several key provisions are maintained - namely; no exclusions for pre-existing illness, continued limits on patient copayments, caps on out-of-pocket costs, coverage for children on a parent's insurance until age 26, and a ban on lifetime limits - that are critical to ensure our patients can continue to access and afford their healthcare," stated Lakhanpal.

"However, we are concerned that some provisions of the AHCA could make it harder for our patients to access rheumatology care. The proposed tax credits based on age rather than income may be insufficient for many rheumatic disease patients to obtain adequate private health insurance coverage. We are also concerned by a provision that would allow insurers to impose a 30 percent premium increase for 12 months for those who have let coverage lapse for more than 63 days. The AHCA also does not address ACR's recommendations to minimize the administrative burden on doctors and to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). These provisions would go a long way toward ensuring a thriving rheumatology workforce and continued patient access to care."

The complete statement can be viewed on the ACR website.
-end-
The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is the nation's leading advocacy organization for the rheumatology care community, representing more than 9,500 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals. As an ethically driven, professional membership organization committed to improving healthcare for Americans living with rheumatic diseases, the ACR advocates for high-quality, high-value policies and reforms that will ensure safe, effective, affordable and accessible rheumatology care.

The ACR previously outlined what it hoped to see in any healthcare reform legislation in a February letter to Congress. In addition to repealing the IPAB, ACR leaders asked for Congress to minimize administrative burden through universal prior authorization systems and maintain FDA authority to approve biosimilars.

American College of Rheumatology

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