The American Society of Nephrology has voiced its opposition to the Senate health care bill. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., ASN president Eleanor D. Lederer said the Better Care Reconciliation Act would “negatively impact millions of patients, particularly those with kidney failure, advanced kidney diseases, and other chronic illnesses.”

“Today, Medicaid covers one in five Americans, ensuring access to care for the most vulnerable citizens in our society,” Lederer wrote. “The proposed elimination of federal funding to Medicaid is particularly concerning to ASN given that Medicaid beneficiaries experience disproportionately higher rates of kidney diseases. Moreover, nearly one-half of people with kidney failure rely on Medicaid for coverage.”

With the letter, ASN is joining other medical and advocacy groups, including the American Medical Association, in opposing the current legislation.

“Medicine has long operated under the precept of Primum non nocere, or ‘first, do no harm.’ The draft legislation violates that standard on many levels,” AMA CEO James L. Madara, MD, wrote in his letter to the Senate leaders.

Lederer expressed particular concern that individuals with preexisting condiotns could find it hard to get affordable health coverage.

“ASN acknowledges that on its surface the Better Care Reconciliation Act appears to ensure that every American will be able to purchase insurance regardless of preexisting conditions,” Lederer wrote. “However, because the Better Care Reconciliation Act would allow states to waive the standards for essential health benefits, ASN is concerned that Americans with pre-existing conditions would experience significant barriers in accessing affordable, high-quality care. These Americans would once again be relegated to delaying treatment and seeking healthcare services in high-cost settings, such as emergency departments. For people with advanced kidney diseases or who have received a kidney transplant or donated a kidney as a living donor, such barriers would be nothing short of life-threatening.”