The proposed American Health Care Act(bit.ly) that House lawmakers are considering as a replacement for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) could roll back many of the health care gains that have been achieved in recent years.
Family physicians can easily lend their voices to this important debate through an AAFP Speak Out campaign beginning this weekend. Members are encouraged to contact their legislators to share stories about patients who are being helped by the current law and to offer real-life solutions to the nation's health care challenges.
If the proposed replacement bill passes in its current form, many patients will lose the access to medical care that they have now.
Rick Wherry, M.D., of Dahlonega, Ga., a member of the FamMedPAC Board of Directors, recalled how many of his patients benefited from expansion of health coverage through the ACA. One of them, a 57-year-old man, was a cabinetmaker until 2007, when his business declined because of the recession.
The patient had diabetes and hypertension but, lacking insurance, he stopped coming in for office visits. He could not afford either the visit or his medication. Thanks to premium subsidies and the federal insurance exchange, however, he obtained coverage, visited Wherry again, and got his blood sugar and blood pressure under control.
"He was able to get his health in order and be productive by virtue of the insurance exchange," Wherry said.
Wherry has conversations with patients who are skeptical about the ACA, and he understands that the nation's current health policy is far from perfect.
"We should keep what is good about the ACA and make changes to those provisions that don't seem right or fair," Wherry said, adding that any changes must guarantee coverage, including for patients with pre-existing conditions. "That is critical for controlling health care costs and for people who have no regular insurance."
You can take action by joining the Speak Out campaign to tell your elected officials that family physicians demand policies that address the real-life financial challenges patients have -- not legislation that will reduce health coverage for millions.
Related AAFP News Coverage
AAFP Warns Congress About Flaws in Proposed ACA Replacement
American Health Care Act Would Hurt Physician-Patient Relationship, Increase Costs
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