Health Care Coverage Doesn’t Help If Americans Can’t Afford Medications and Treatments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Statement attributable to:
Gary LeRoy, MD
President
American Academy of Family Physicians

“While the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion have increased access to health care coverage, the rapidly increasing cost of health care, particularly the cost of prescription drugs, threatens to undermine the expansion in coverage. This financial pressure is a real concern for many Americans, one which affects the choices they make about their health and medical care.

The American Academy of Family Physicians appreciates that President Trump highlighted the high cost of prescription drugs and the importance of Americans having access to affordable, innovative and high-quality health care.

“Family physicians are on the front lines of America’s health care system and see this financial tension playing out in their practices every day as they manage the chronic conditions of their patients. Diabetes is a prime example of this, with patients unable to afford their insulin or rationing it in order to make it last longer. We continue to see the devastating effects of delaying or declining prescribed medications and needed treatments because patients can’t afford them.

Research published yesterday(annals.org) in the Annals of Internal Medicine puts a fine point on this, suggesting that insured adults have been visiting primary care physicians less often, and this decline may be partly explained by financial deterrents. While skipping primary preventive health care may be penny-wise for now, it’s pound-foolish for the future.

“A health care system that is comprehensive and prioritizes primary care must also emphasize the cost and affordability of care. As our policy states, the American Academy of Family Physicians recognizes that health is a basic human right for every person, and that right to health includes universal access to timely, acceptable and affordable health care.

“The AAFP is committed to ensuring that all patients have access to needed care and affordable coverage. We will continue to advocate for meaningful affordable health care for all.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. LeRoy, contact Megan Moriarty, 800-274-2237, Ext. 6052, or mmoriarty@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 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).