Our organizations, which represent a combined membership of more than 560,000 physician and medical student members, are alarmed by the Administration’s announcement that they will no longer defend any part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the federal case Texas v United States. This decision places the health care of millions of Americans, including those with pre-existing health care conditions, in jeopardy.
As physicians who provide a majority of care to individuals for physical and mental conditions, we know these insurance reforms and protections are essential to ensuring access to affordable health coverage for more than 130 million Americans, including the more than 31 million individuals between the ages of 55 and 64 who have at least one pre-existing condition.
Throughout the 2018 election, the President and Members of Congress from both parties emphasized their commitment to protecting individuals with pre-existing health conditions. This announcement by the Administration explicitly contradicts that promise. Elimination of these protections would result in millions facing limited access to health care coverage and higher cost as a result of insurers being allowed to return to discriminatory coverage and pricing practices.
The DOJ’s new position, if accepted by the courts, would endanger not only essential protections for persons with preexisting conditions, but other programs that millions of Americans depend on to ensure their access to affordable health care. These include federal funding for Medicaid expansion, premium subsidies to make coverage affordable in the individual market, and the ban on annual and lifetime limits on coverage. In addition, insurers would no longer be required to cover essential health care such as maternity care, pediatric services, cancer screenings, prescription drugs, and mental health and substance use disorder treatments. Additionally, dependent coverage up to age 26 would be discontinued, seniors would no longer have access to no-cost preventive services, and women could again be charged more for coverage simply because of their gender.
Our organizations strongly disagree with the DOJ’s position. We fully support the protections and programs established by the ACA that are essential to ensuring access to care. We strongly urge the Administration to reverse its position in Texas v United States, and even if it does not do so, we hope and expect that the appellate courts consider the impact on patients and rule against overturning the law.
Our organizations stand ready to collaborate with the Administration and Congress on policy solutions to increase access to affordable health care and provides all individuals, regardless of their gender, race, and health status; and provide reasonable protections against discrimination in coverage and pricing.
American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,500 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit www.psychiatry.org.
About the American Academy of Family Physicians
Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter, 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.
About the American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 154,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter,Facebook and Instagram.
About the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. www.acog.org
About the American Osteopathic Association
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents more than 137,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools. Visit DoctorsThatDO.org to learn more about osteopathic medicine.