Primary Care Physicians Oppose Repeal of ACA, but Support Improvements

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“We found that PCPs strongly endorse key elements of the ACA that enable individuals to obtain insurance coverage and that very few support repealing the law."
“We found that PCPs strongly endorse key elements of the ACA that enable individuals to obtain insurance coverage and that very few support repealing the law."

The vast majority of primary care physicians (PCPs) does not want the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to be repealed in its entirety, but is in favor of making some changes to the law, according to results from a survey of 426 PCPs.

“We found that PCPs strongly endorse key elements of the ACA that enable individuals to obtain insurance coverage and that very few support repealing the law,” said Craig Evan Pollack, MD, MHS, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, and coauthor of an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine commenting on the survey.

As debate regarding health-care policies and the ACA continues, the authors say that some proponents of repealing the law have argued that the ACA places a high burden on physicians. However, they write, these proponents do not have up-to-date knowledge of PCPs' perspectives on the ACA — an important consideration, since PCPs have an impact on the cost, quality and outcomes of health care.

To assess PCPs' perspectives on the ACA and policy options, Dr Pollack and colleagues surveyed 426 randomly sampled physicians by mail between December 2016 and January 2017.

All of the PCPs were members of the American Medical Association (AMA) at the time of the survey.

According to their findings, 15.1% of the PCPs surveyed want to repeal the law entirely. Political affiliation played a role in the respondents' perspective; none of those who want the ACA repealed in its entirety were democrats.

Aspects of the ACA that are strongly supported by the survey respondents include regulations that ensure coverage for people with pre-existing conditions (95.1%), allowing youth to stay on their parents' insurance until the age of 26 (87.6%), providing tax credits to small businesses (90.8%) and tax subsidies to individuals (75.9%), and expanding Medicaid (72.9%).

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