Washington, DC - In a tumultuous 2017, gains made to expand insurance coverage were threatened by various legislative and executive actions. Physicians responded with a strong voice in favor of proposals to stabilize the individual insurance market and against plans that would lead to millions fewer uninsured. Here is how AMA Wire® covered these vital developments.

Repeal of ACA individual mandate tax penalty would raise uninsured rate. In the fall, Congress shifted its focus from health reform to rewriting the federal tax code and repealing the penalty for not obtaining health insurance was being considered in the mix of proposals. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated this would lead to 4 million fewer people insured in 2019 and increase to 13 million by 2027. The mandate keeps a sufficient number of healthy people in the insurance pool to help spread the financial risk of illness.

The AMA joined the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Hospital Association (AHA), Federation of American Hospitals (FAH), Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) in warning Congressional leaders about the dire consequences this could have.

"Repealing the individual mandate without a workable alternative will reduce enrollment, further destabilizing an already fragile individual and small group health insurance market on which more than 10 million Americans rely," the joint letter states.

It was a variation on the message the AMA had been advocating the whole year.