Family Physicians Applaud Supreme Court Decision that Preserves Federal Subsidies for Health Plans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Thursday, June 25, 2015

Statement attributable to:
Robert Wergin, MD
President
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The American Academy of Family Physician welcomes today’s Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell.

“Millions of Americans now have health security because today’s Supreme Court ruling preserves the federal subsidy for their insurance premiums. By ruling that federal exchange insurance plans qualify for premium subsidies, the Court has ensured that middle- and low-income families can afford the insurance that provides access to comprehensive health services.

“A successful challenge to federal subsidies for health insurance premiums would have dismantled the system’s carefully designed infrastructure. That framework enables insurers to cover preventive care and pre-existing conditions, eliminate annual or life-time limits on benefits, and continue a beneficiary’s coverage when he or she becomes seriously ill.

“As family physicians, we saw the negative impact that lack of insurance had on patients’ ability to get the care they needed when they needed it. Too often, patients without insurance would forgo or postpone needed care due to cost, then arrive in our exam room with conditions that could have been prevented or at least mitigated. By that time, they needed care that was more intensive and expensive.

“Now, as more people have been able to buy insurance, we see fewer of these challenges and more positive results from having a usual source of care. Commonwealth Fund survey data show six in 10 Americans with new insurance coverage used it to see a doctor or fill a prescription. Of those, more than six in 10 would not have been able to afford such care before getting their new coverage. Moreover, 70 percent of those who had used their plan to get care said they were better off as a result.

“Family physicians across the country applaud the Supreme Court’s decision and the health security it brings.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Wergin, contact Leslie Champlin, (800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224, or lchampli@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).