WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) today issued a brief statement in advance of the House of Representatives' expected vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), urging Members to vote against the bill. ACEP's president, Dr. Rebecca Parker, said in a statement:
"Members of Congress should vote 'no' on the AHCA. We are very disappointed that the most recent version of the legislation does not guarantee insurance coverage for emergency medical care. Access to emergency medical care is critical to all Americans, as is insurance coverage for that care. This latest version of the new health care legislation does little to improve the health of the nation and will lead to more Americans not having any form of health care coverage.
In a recent poll, Americans overwhelmingly — 95 percent— wanted health insurance companies to cover emergency medical care, and we agree with them. The Affordable Care Act included emergency services as an essential health benefit and any replacement legislation must do the same. Patients can't choose where and when they will need emergency care and they shouldn't be punished financially for having emergencies. Federal legislation must ensure that patients having emergencies can seek emergency care knowing their insurer will provide coverage. Fortunately, the bill will go before the United States Senate, where we will work with others to make improvements."
The current version of the legislation would allow states to apply for waivers to opt out of providing insurance coverage for essential benefits, including emergency care.