#PNN_Affordable Care Act

A group of high-level physician groups last week filed an amicus brief in the case of Texas v. United States, a lawsuit that threatens some of the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The American Medical Association (AMA), American College of Physicians (ACP), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) oppose the lawsuit. AMA said that it would undermine the policies supported by AMA’s House of Delegates, including expanded health insurance coverage and other important patient protections.

In addition to the amicus brief, a separate statement of opposition was issued by a group of organizations that includes the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, American Osteopathic Association, and the American Psychiatric Association. The statement reads: “The elimination of these protections could result in millions of people facing limited access to healthcare coverage and higher cost as a result of insurers being allowed to return to discriminatory coverage and pricing practices.  As physicians who provide a majority of care to individuals for physical and mental conditions, we can speak clearly that these insurance reforms and protections are essential to ensuring that the more than 130 million Americans, especially the more than 31 million individuals between the ages of 55 and 64, who have at least one pre-existing condition are able to secure affordable healthcare coverage.”

If the lawsuit is successful, federal policy could roll back to 2009, which would be remarkably disruptive to our nation’s health system and every single American. The following provisions of the Affordable Care Act would be null and void:

  • Patients would no longer have protections for pre-existing conditions.

  • Children would no longer have coverage under their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26.

  • Insurers would no longer be held to the 85% medical loss ratio, meaning they could generate higher profits at the expense of coverage and payments for services.

  • 100 percent coverage for certain preventive services would cease.

  • Annual and lifetime dollar limits could be reinstated, leading to more bankruptcies due to healthcare costs.

“The policies being undermined through the plaintiffs’ action have broad, bipartisan and public support, and have improved the lives of patients. An unfavorable decision in this case would create further disruption, generate uncertainty, spark additional premium increases and cause declines in coverage,” said AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, MD. “We urge the court to reject this case because health policy should be developed in Congress and not in the courts.”

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