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Republicans face resistance from hospitals, doctors, and seniors

During the ACA debate, Democrats took great care to earn support from stakeholders throughout the system. Republicans are going in a different direction.
Empty hospital emergency room. (Stock photo by  DreamPictures/Getty Images)
Empty hospital emergency room.
During the debate over the Affordable Care Act, Democrats took great care to earn support from stakeholders throughout the health care system. By the time the vote neared, they faced fierce opposition from Republicans, but reform proponents were backed by an array of key institutions, including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospital Association, the AARP, and the American Cancer Society.Republicans are headed in a different direction. The Hill reported:

The nation's biggest doctors group on Wednesday came out in opposition to the GOP's ObamaCare replacement bill, warning that it would cause millions of people to lose coverage."As drafted, the AHCA would result in millions of Americans losing coverage and benefits," said Dr. Andrew Gurman, president of the American Medical Association (AMA), referring to the American Health Care Act.

The AMA statement added, "By replacing income-based premium subsidies with age-based tax credits, the AHCA will also make coverage more expensive -- if not out of reach -- for poor and sick Americans. For these reasons, the AMA cannot support the AHCA as it is currently written."It's an increasingly common sentiment. Bloomberg Politics added, "In the last several days, other major physician groups, including the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association, have said they have serious issues with or outright oppose the plan. Together they represent hundreds of thousands of U.S. doctors and health professionals."The American Hospital Association has also announced its opposition to the Republican bill, which is no small detail. Hospitals tend to be major employers in practically every congressional district in the country, and they're not known for having a strong partisan or ideological bent.In case this weren't quite enough, the AARP isn't pleased, either, probably because the Affordable Care Act restricts insurers from charging older customers more, and Republicans ease those limits.And if GOP leaders think they're in trouble now, wait until their plan faces fierce opposition from organized seniors.The Washington Post's Paul Waldman recently had a good piece on the Republicans' lack of institutional support: "[W]ho is with Republicans right now in their effort to repeal the ACA? Who has their back? The answer is: nobody."It didn't have to be this way. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Republican leaders didn't have to write their bill in secret. It's easy to imagine a process in which they solicited input from stakeholders, worked with senators, reached out to a few centrist Democrats, and approached this in a careful and deliberate way.Instead, they did the opposite. The result is a bill that has far fewer champions than it will probably need.