Prominent Health Lawyers Offer Help for Obamacare Reform


 

The chorus of voices warning against a blanket repeal of the Affordable Care Act gained substantial depth and resonance this week.

On March 13, a group of 10 prominent health-care attorneys sent a letter to the president and key members of Congress asking that any new legislation maintain components of the ACA that have been critical to expanding health insurance coverage and protecting the viability of health-care institutions.

Earlier this month, both the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association expressed their opposition to the proposed American Health Care Act. Both groups said the bill’s blanket repeal of ACA provisions could harm vulnerable populations by eliminating programs that insurers and providers have spent the past eight years developing.

The most recent group to weigh in calls itself Health Lawyers for Responsible Reform, and consists of 10 of the last 17 attorneys to chair the American Bar Association’s Health Law Section. The group was organized by Andrew J. Demetriou, a health-care attorney in Los Angeles who chaired the ABA Health Law Section from 2007 to 2008.

Although the group advocated against a blanket repeal of the ACA, it didn’t go so far as to oppose any effort to reform the health-care law. Instead the members provided 16 principles that they believe should guide any future legislative efforts beyond the current Republican plan being debated in Congress.

“What we are really trying to do is to make a plea for some positive principles in the debate over repeal and replacement of the ACA,” Demetriou told me.

Additionally, the group offered its assistance to policymakers in crafting that future legislation, an offer that comes with the heft of a bipartisan group of health-care lawyers with a broad industry perspective.

“As you have recently noted, the issues around reform to the laws which govern healthcare delivery are ‘unbelievably complex,’ but they are well understood by the signatories of this letter and other individuals with whom we work on a daily basis,” the group told President Donald Trump.

The letter went on to offer the help of all of the signed attorneys and their contacts in “achieving meaningful health care reform while protecting the interests of all Americans in access to appropriate and affordable care.”

Read my full story about the letter, including my interview with Demetriou, here.

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