• Executive Orders Will Protect Public Health Through Access to Needed Care and Affordable Coverage

    Thursday, January 28, 2021

    Statement attributable to:
    Ada D. Stewart, MD
    American Academy of Family Physicians

    “The American Academy of Family Physicians applauds the Biden administration for taking quick actions to protect public health and immediately expand health care coverage to more Americans. As indicated in a letter we recently sent to President Biden, the AAFP strongly supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and we urged his administration to build on the progress the ACA made to increase rates of health care coverage, improve access to primary care services, protect patients with pre-existing conditions, and expand coverage of essential benefits.

    “Family physicians understand the key role Medicaid and health insurance exchanges play in providing access to care and affordable coverage. The AAFP has previously advocated for policies that would help to accomplish those goals, and we are pleased that the Biden administration has signed two executive orders that will ensure more Americans are able to get coverage to seek the care they need.

    “Today’s executive order announcing an open enrollment period for HealthCare.gov from Feb. 15 to May 15 provides a timely opportunity to sign up for health insurance, something many Americans may now need with changes in employment status related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The executive order strengthens the Medicaid program by ensuring that state demonstration waivers advance the objectives of the program and do not create barriers to care, such as work requirements and block grants. Importantly, the executive order will also ensure that marketplace policies and waivers promote access to affordable coverage. The AAFP has previously condemned waivers allowing states to opt-out of marketplace participation, thereby complicating the enrollment process, increasing the burden on consumers and making it more confusing to sign up – all factors that lead to loss of coverage.

    “Additionally, we applaud the executive order to review the regulations under the Title X family planning program, which restrict Title X grantees from providing comprehensive counseling and referrals to clinicians who provide abortion care. The AAFP opposed this harmful rule which severely impedes access to essential, evidence-based reproductive health services for low-income Americans and interferes with the patient-physician relationship.

    “The AAFP looks forward to partnering with the Biden administration to advance our shared goals of improving health care coverage and affordability for all Americans.”

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

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    Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 133,500 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest 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 www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.