Primary Care Patient Protection Act Makes Necessary Health Services Affordable

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Statement attributable to:
Michael Munger, MD
President
American Academy of Family Physicians

“Americans will have access to essential primary care and preventive health services under the Primary Care Patient Protection Act of 2018, introduced this week by U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (D-Illinois) and Elise Stefanik (R-New York). The American Academy of Family Physicians applauds the introduction of this bill. Requiring high-deductible health plans to include a set of primary care visits independent of cost for patients will bring necessary health services within the financial reach of millions of Americans.

“Research has shown that deductibles and copayments discourage people from getting the primary care they need. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 43 percent of insured patients said they delayed or skipped physician-recommended tests or treatment because of high associated costs. Another poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians found that 80 percent of respondents said they were treating insured patients who avoided or delayed medical care due to unaffordable out-of-pocket costs.

“Ensuring patients have access to a usual source of care, a family physician, and meaningful coverage will equate to better overall health at a lower cost. Being able to receive care in this setting will be less expensive for individuals and families than pursuing care at other sites, such as emergency rooms. This legislation removes a portion of the financial obstacle that may prevent people from pursuing primary care services when they are sick.

“The AAFP welcomes this legislation and urges Congress to act quickly on its passage.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Munger, 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 131,400 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.

To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter,(twitter.com) and like us on Facebook. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).