Health

HHS Doctor Opposes Health Care Reform Bill

| by Jordan Smith

A senior official at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has spoken out against the bill presented by Republicans to overturn the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare.

Chief Medical Officer Andrey Ostrovsky criticized the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in a tweet March 8, CNN reported.

"Despite political messaging from others at HHS, I align with the experts ... in opposition to #AHCA," Ostrovsky wrote.

Ostrovsky has been the chief medical officer since September 2016. He mentioned a number of medical organizations which have come out against the bill, including the American Medical Association, the American Association of Family Physicians and the American Association of Pediatrics.

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In a letter to leading politicians in Congress, the AMA said it could not support the bill because of an "expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations," according to NPR. It argued that the expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare had been "highly successful in providing coverage for lower income individuals."

A separate letter from the American Nurses Association alleged that the proposed bill "threatens health care affordability, access, and delivery for individuals across the nation." In the ANA's view, the reform "in no way will improve care for the American people."

HHS Secretary Tom Price has defended the bill. He stated at a press conference March 8 that he would review ObamaCare regulations "and make certain that if they help patients, then we need to continue them. If they harm patients or increase costs, then obviously they need to be addressed."

Other supporters of the planned reform were more critical of the comments made by the health care organizations.

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"There's a pretty big medical-industrial complex in America," said Republican Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon. "And when you touch it, I've discovered, it touches back."

Ostrovsky is not the first government official to speak out against a position taken by President Donald Trump. Craig Deare, a senior adviser on the National Security Council, criticized the Trump administration's Latin America policy in February.

In response, the Trump administration reassigned him to his old position at the National Defense University.

"I don't think that any person that is there in order to carry out the President's agenda should be against the President's agenda," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders at the time, according to CNN. "It seems pretty silly that you would have someone who is not supportive of what you are trying to accomplish there to carry out that very thing."

There have been no reports of any action being taken against Ostrovsky following his comments.

Sources: CNN, NPR / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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