NEW YORK: On June 28, John Ingle, MD, President of the Committee of Interns and Residents released the following statement on the decision by the Supreme Court regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
These feverish months of legal uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act have given way to relief.
As resident physicians on the front lines of our healthcare system, the Committee of Interns and Residents welcome this news as we would the breaking of a fever in one of our patients. We’ll take a deep, thankful breath, and press on with a renewed focus on treating the root causes of the disease – a healthcare system that costs too much, covers too few, and does not deliver the quality of care we know we are capable of.
We became doctors because we wanted to make a real difference in the lives of our patients and their families. That’s why we continue to be vocal in the national debate on health care reform, bringing our knowledge and experience to advocate for reform that would truly help physicians and our patients.
CIR physicians did so not just out of concern for our own training as the physician workforce of tomorrow, but out of deep frustration with the healthcare system as it was. We believe, as most Americans do, that no one should go broke just because they got sick. No one should have to choose between buying medication or putting food on the table. No one should have to choose between going to the doctor or paying the electric bill.
Although this law is years away from full implementation, the impact it has already had on our patients is undeniable. The Affordable Care Act has already yielded tremendous progress, including:
- More than 3 million young adults who are able to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until the age of 26 – patients who otherwise would have joined the throngs filling the Emergency Rooms and the free clinics where we work to receive uncompensated care because they simply have nowhere else to go.
- The 3.5 million Medicare patients who have gained relief from the Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut hole” – and the physicians who have gained relief because their patients with a psychiatric disorder or multiple chronic conditions will not have to go off their medications midway through treatment because of cost.
- The $1.2 billion already spent through the Prevention and Public Health Fund to promote community-based prevention and wellness programs that are the cornerstone of any well-functioning healthcare system.
We now look forward to the full implementation of the law, with its promise of additional coverage for 32 million Americans, a realistic program for bending the curve of escalating costs, and an unprecedented national commitment to quality improvement, eliminating health disparities, and achieving a comprehensive strategy on prevention and wellness.
With the resolution of this Supreme Court case, our elected officials at the federal and state level no longer have an excuse to delay their own critical decisions on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It is time to move forward.