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CEO DATELINE – American Medical Association opposes association health plan rule

Dec. 11, 2018
By Walt Williams

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The American Medical Association is asking a federal court to block a Trump administration rule expanding the use of association health plans, saying it undermines consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act, the news site FierceHealthcare reported Monday.

AMA filed an amicus brief with U.S District Court for D.C. last week siding with a dozen state attorneys general who sued in July to block the rule from going into effect. The lawsuit argues that association health plans erode consumer protections guaranteed by the health care law and the rule essentially amounted to an end run around Congress.

AMA echoed those concerns in its brief.

“Denying patients coverage based on seemingly neutral characteristics that the insurance industry knows, in reality, are associated with higher medical costs or pre-existing conditions would leave patients with lower quality care, greater out-of-pocket expenses, and overall poorer health outcomes,” the association said. “Those consequences subvert the object and design of the ACA.”

The Trump administration rule has been embraced by many business groups that see association health plans as a way to reduce costs for member companies. However, medical groups have been less enthusiastic, saying the plans could harm patients.