Supreme Court Decision Upholds Health Care Act

Ruling Strengthens Primary Care, Says AAFP President

June 28, 2012 09:35 am News Staff

The AAFP is recognizing a Supreme Court decision upholding all provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying in a prepared statement that "as a result of this decision, more Americans will have access to meaningful insurance coverage and to the primary care physicians who are key to high-quality, affordable health services."

"Broad, individual responsibility for health care is the foundation for successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act's patient protections," said AAFP President Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I., of Spokane, Wash. "Economic realities dictate that ensuring coverage for all Americans depends on participation of all Americans."

Stream cited a 2001 Institute of Medicine report that says virtually all Americans, regardless of their health status, use health care services. "Without broad participation in a health care coverage system, health care for all cannot be obtained, let alone sustained," said Stream. "The Affordable Care Act reduces numerous financial barriers to care by requiring coverage despite pre-existing conditions, eliminating annual and lifetime limits on benefits, and eliminating cost sharing for preventive services."

Story Highlights

  • The AAFP is praising a Supreme Court decision upholding all provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
  • In a prepared statement, AAFP President Glen Stream, M.D., M.B. I., said that "as a result of this decision, more Americans will have access to meaningful insurance coverage and to the primary care physicians who are key to high-quality health services."
  • Stream cited various provisions in the Affordable Care Act that will strengthen the nation's primary care and family physician workforce and infrastructure.

In addition, the Supreme Court decision "maintains already launched initiatives that support wider implementation of the patient-centered medical home and that value primary medical care through payment incentives for primary care physicians," Stream said.

Stream cited the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative and Medicare's Primary Care Incentive Payment program as examples of programs that will foster a financial environment that can help build the primary care physician workforce and ensure all Americans have access to a patient-centered medical home.

The Affordable Care Act also has other provisions to strengthen the primary care workforce and infrastructure. These include investments in the Health Care Workforce Commission and funding increases for programs, such as grants for family medicine, teaching health centers, and maintenance of scholarships and loan repayment programs in the National Health Service Corps.

"By upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court has ensured that all Americans have access to affordable, sustainable health care coverage and that they receive high-quality, coordinated and efficient care," said Stream. "It is a future that family physicians happily anticipate."

Although the Affordable Care Act provides a foundation for reforming the nation's health care system, much work still lies ahead, including a permanent replacement for the sustainable growth rate formula and meaningful medical liability reform, Stream added.


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