American Medical Association blasts GOP health care bill: It violates 'do no harm' oath


The American Medical Association is opposing the Republican health care bill for a very simple reason — the harm it would do violates the most important oath for physicians: "First, do no harm."

The American Medical Association (AMA) announced its opposition to the Republican health care bill in a letter to the leaders of the Senate. The group said it is against the bill because the legislation violates the physicians' oath of "first, do no harm."

"The draft legislation violates that standard on many levels," the letter states.

AMA is the largest association of physicians in America. Its stated mission is to "promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health."

The Republican bill is decidedly not a path toward betterment of public health.

It attacks benefits for millions of Americans, including a plan to cut Medicaid funding by at least $800 billion, which the AMA says "will expose low and middle income patients to higher costs and greater difficulty in affording care."

The group is "particularly concerned" about the provision to restrict Medicaid spending with "per-capita-caps" on spending. Those caps, the letter states, "fail to take into account unanticipated costs of new medical innovations or the fiscal impact of public health epidemics, such as the crisis of opioid abuse currently ravaging our nation."

Provisions in the bill to undermine efforts to help opioid addicts have pushed advocates to raise the alarm. Gary Mendell, founder of the addiction-focused non-profit Shatterproof, told the NY Daily News, "This is like a death sentence for those getting treatment for substance abuse disorders."

The members of the AMA, who are the first responders to the epidemic, are now agreeing with this stark assessment.

The letter concludes: "We believe that Congress should be working to increase the number of Americans with access to quality, affordable health insurance instead of pursuing policies that have the opposite effect."

Republicans continue to pursue the opposite path, despite resistance from nearly every quarter of America.