AAFP Statement: AAFP Calls on 112th Congress to Preserve Patient Access and Quality of Care in Health System

Monday, January 17, 2011

Statement attributable to:
Roland Goertz, MD, MBA
American Academy of Family Physicians

“A repeal of all provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will return our health care system to its previous trends of unsustainable, increasing costs and ever-growing numbers of under- and uninsured Americans. It will have negative consequences on Americans’ access to needed health care for years to come. Not only would such action eliminate uninsured patients’ access to health care coverage, but it also would return us to a fragmented, duplicative, expensive system that has progressively weakened primary medical care in America for more than thirty years. To do so now — when abundant evidence shows that an efficient, high-quality health care system depends on primary care — would result in blocking some of the exact changes the health care system must make to better serve Americans.

“The American Academy of Family Physicians will work with the 112th Congress and the Administration to ensure effective implementation of health reform provisions that expand coverage, that emphasize access to primary medical care and that support a healthy primary care physician workforce. These are issues that have had bipartisan support in the past and should continue to have that support in the future. In addition, we will work with Congress to enact needed improvements, including a permanent solution to the Medicare physician payment formula and medical liability reform.

“Our health care system must preserve patients’ ability to buy insurance coverage for themselves and their children. It must prohibit practices such as denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions and limiting yearly or lifetime benefits. It must continue progress toward implementing medical homes that ensure patient-centered, coordinated and comprehensive care tailored to each person’s needs. It must include provisions to increase the number of primary care physicians, particularly in underserved and rural areas.

“Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not perfect, the law represents progress on many of these issues. A blanket repeal of the law will make these efforts that much more difficult while Americans wait for access to and coverage for the care they need.”

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

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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