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Springfield, MO

Letter to the Editor: Health reform bills neglect access issue

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Dear editor,

On behalf of the 2,500 family physician, family medicine resident and medical student members of the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians, I write to express concern over the actions of Congress on health reform. Currently, the U.S. Senate is working on legislation, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, that could change the future of health care in America. While the bill does maintain some important protections for patients, the fact that millions of patients will reportedly lose their coverage is unacceptable.

As a family physician from Perryville, I provide comprehensive care to my patients. The BCRA is based on the House version, the American Health Care Act, which is flawed legislation as it would 1) result in the loss of coverage for millions of currently insured; 2) roll back consumer protections and insurance reforms; 3) destroy the Medicaid program; and 4) separate those with health insurance from primary care physicians through higher deductibles. Analysis of the AHCA bill shows 498,400 people in Missouri would lose health care coverage and see dramatically increased premiums – an average of $1,159 annual increase in Missouri.

In my opinion, health care reform should provide coverage for all Missourians, include insurance reforms and patient protections, protect the safety net, and invest in primary care. It should address the real-life challenges people have with health care. Health reform is needed, but we must maintain the gains in patient protections provided by the current law. I encourage Congress to work toward a bipartisan solution.

I urge readers to call their senators and urge them to oppose any legislation that will deprive the citizens of Missouri of meaningful health care coverage.

—Dr. Mark Schabbing, of Perryville, president of the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians

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