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Leading diabetes group joins opposition to Obamacare repeal

 (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

The American Diabetes Assn. has joined a growing list of patient advocates and other medical groups opposing the push to repeal the Affordable Care Act without first developing a replacement.

“The ACA provides numerous health insurance protections for people with, and at risk for, diabetes and has greatly improved access to adequate and affordable health insurance,” the group warned in a letter to congressional leaders.

“Congress should not risk critical advancements made under the ACA without simultaneously enacting a replacement plan that maintains or improves existing access to comprehensive, affordable healthcare coverage.”

The letter from the diabetes group – which advocates for nearly 30 million Americans with diabetes – follows a similar warning from the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society, which also sent a strongly-worded letter last week to congressional leaders from both parties.

President-elect Donald Trump and senior Republican lawmakers have pledged to move early next year to roll back key parts of the healthcare law, popularly called Obamacare, including provisions that have allowed states to expand their Medicaid safety nets and have provided subsidies to low- and middle-income Americans to help with the cost of insurance premiums.

More than 20 million Americans who previously lacked insurance have gained coverage under the law.

To minimize disruptions, senior Republicans want to delay when the cuts would take effect. The idea is to buy time to allow the party to develop an alternative.

But many experts, including the American Academy of Actuaries and other independent groups, believe the GOP strategy would more likely lead to widespread turmoil.

Republican have been unable to agree on an alternative to the current law in the six years since it was passed.

The American Diabetes Assn. echoed those concerns.

“Repealing the ACA will create huge access barriers for millions of Americans, especially if no fully defined replacement is put in place immediately to meet the healthcare needs of individuals with chronic health conditions like diabetes,” the group said.

“The ACA ended fundamental inequities in access to adequate and affordable health insurance that separated Americans with diabetes from the tools they needed in the fight against the horrific and costly complications of diabetes including blindness, amputation, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke – and death.” 

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