AAFP Statement: AAFP Welcomes Supreme Court Ruling on ACA

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Statement attributable to:
Glen Stream, MD, MBI
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The American Academy of Family Physicians is eager to move forward with needed health system reforms now that the Supreme Court has ruled. As a result, 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. Economic realities dictate that ensuring affordable coverage for all Americans depends on participation of all Americans. The 2001 Institute of Medicine Report, “Coverage Matters — Insurance and Health Care,” confirms that — regardless of their insurance status — virtually all Americans use health care services. Without broad participation in a health care coverage system, health care for all cannot be obtained, let alone sustained.

“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. It recognizes the value of primary care by bringing Medicaid payment for primary care services to Medicare levels.

“Equally important, however, are the law’s provisions that will build the primary care workforce to meet patients’ needs. 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. Programs such as the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation’s Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative and Medicare’s Primary Care Incentive Payment can continue to foster a financial environment that builds the primary care physician workforce and helps ensure all Americans have access to a patient-centered medical home.

“The decision allows investment in primary care education and training with improved support for the Health Professions Grants for Family Medicine, funding for teaching health centers, establishment of the Health Care Workforce Commission, and maintenance of scholarships and loan repayment programs in the National Health Service Corps.

“The Affordable Care Act provides a foundation for reforming our health care system, but much work still lies ahead including a permanent replacement for the Sustainable Growth Rate formula and meaningful medical liability reform.

“By upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court has ensured that Americans have access to affordable, sustainable health care coverage and that they receive high quality, coordinated and efficient care based on primary care. It is a future that family physicians happily anticipate.”

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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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