he head of the nation’s largest professional association of doctors is urging Republicans to think twice about dismantling Obamacare without a replacement plan.
In an open letter to Congress, Dr. James L. Madara, the CEO of the American Medical Association, urged lawmakers to “lay out for the American people, in reasonable detail, what will replace current policies” on health coverage.
“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,” Madara wrote in the letter, released Tuesday.
The AMA had supported the original passage of the Affordable Care Act. But the group caused a minor rebellion among liberal doctors when it quickly threw its support behind Representative Tom Price as President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for health secretary. Price, a former orthopedic surgeon, staunchly opposes Obamacare and has worked to dismantle it.
Thousands of doctors signed petitions blasting the AMA for supporting Price; one characterized the decision as “a slap in the face.”
The open letter may not quiet the anger among some doctors. But it does put the AMA on the record as demanding more transparency from Republicans about their plans for reworking the nation’s health laws.
And the medical group isn’t alone. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a physician who briefly ran for the GOP presidential nomination, wrote in an op-ed on Tuesday that repealing the law without replacing it would only add to the “current chaos.”
Congress, however, is already moving forward. Hours before the AMA sent its letter, Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), introduced the first step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act. In a statement, Enzi wrote that the resolution would “repair the nation’s broken health care system.”