Infectious Disease

Pact allows ACA to require preventive services amid legal battle

Rita K. Kuwahara, MD, MIH

Access to preventive care is critical for our patients to maintain optimal health. As physicians, we follow evidence-based medicine to keep our patients and communities healthy, and the USPSTF is comprised of expert physicians and scientists who review the clinical evidence and are guided by science to make recommendations on which preventive screenings and interventions we should offer patients , such as testing for diabetes and certain types of cancers, to ensure our patients have better health outcomes.

While the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruling places a stay on the Braidwood Management, Inc. v. Becerra lawsuit, temporarily maintaining patients’ access to USPSTF-recommended preventive health services with no cost sharing as the case moves through the courts, until a final ruling is made, the ACA and patients’ access to critical preventive health services remain under attack.

It is unacceptable that access to recommended health care continues to be politicized; physicians, not lawyers, should be reviewing the scientific evidence and making clinical recommendations, and as physicians, we must protect our patients’ access to health care.

When patients have access to preventive care without additional out-of-pocket costs, including no copays, coinsurance or deductibles, they have financial access to important health care services that can allow early detection of diseases such as cancer and improve their likelihood of successfully managing or curing their condition.

A person does not choose to get sick, and people in our nation should not have to die or become severely ill because they cannot afford recommended preventive health care. It is important for patients with ACA health insurance plans to have ongoing access to preventive health services as recommended by the USPSTF with no cost sharing to prevent inequitable health outcomes and widening racial and ethnic health disparities that result from delayed diagnoses and treatment due to financial constraints .

In order to keep patients and families in our communities as healthy as possible, it is critical for us, as physicians, to ensure our patients continue to receive all clinically recommended preventive health services with no out-of-pocket costs, so that we may provide the best care for our patients and improve our nation’s health outcomes.

Rita K. Kuwahara, MD, MIH

Primary care internal medicine physicianHealio Primary Care Peer Perspective Board Member

Disclosures: Kuwahara reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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