Passage of Health Care Reform Launches New Era

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Statement attributable to:
Lori Heim, MD
American Academy of Family Physicians

"The AAFP commends Congress for passing Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, HR 3590. While it's been a long and sometimes challenging year for health care reform, today's vote on this important legislation, marks the start of a health care system that meets the needs of Americans.

"Although this bill is not perfect, the AAFP consistently supported efforts to provide health insurance with a minimum package of benefits for all Americans; to deliver high quality, comprehensive, and preventive care in a patient-centered medical home; and to ensure people can see their personal physician when they need care. We've also supported changing the system to one built on primary care.

"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act addresses many of these issues. As a result of today's vote, Americans can look forward to health security because they soon will have the chance to buy health insurance that meets their needs without emptying their bank accounts. It opens the door to a reformed health delivery system by paying a bonus for primary care services, which sends a message acknowledging the value of primary care physicians. It also encourages broader testing of the patient-centered medical home and focuses on paying for quality rather than quantity. It begins to invest in the primary care physician workforce as the foundation of a more efficient and effective health care system for this country.

"This legislation is the beginning. We would have liked to see this bill provide a permanent solution for Medicare payments to doctors. It could have gone further on medical malpractice reform. We will continue to work with our colleagues in the medical community and with Congress for improvements in these and other areas.

"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been a long time in the making. Congress has wrestled with rising health care costs and growing numbers of uninsured Americans for decades. With passage of health care reform, an era of inefficient, costly, and inaccessible health care will change direction. We look forward to a new era, where Americans know the security of seeing their personal physicians, receive patient-centered services and know they are receiving the highest quality care in the world."

Editor’s Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Heim, contact Leslie Champlin, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5224, or

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,000 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 on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website,