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Public health experts oppose repeal of Obamacare

July 13, 2012
KEYWORDS affordable / apha / care / health / repeal
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Capitol HillThe American Public Health Association (APHA) is urging the U.S. House of Repsentatives to deny any attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, dubbed “Obamacare.”

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the landmark measure last, Republican lawmakers vowed to redouble their efforts to get the law repealed.

That action would compromise efforts to improve the health of all Americans, according to APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E).

“On June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down one of the most significant health care rulings in more than a century, upholding a landmark law designed to fundamentally shift the nation’s health system away from treatment and towards prevention,” said Benjamin.

“Yet, the majority in the House of Representatives is once again playing politics with our health in their latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. These efforts are distracting and do nothing to reduce rates of chronic disease, increase productivity and control costs within the health system. It is only by ensuring full implementation of the law and improving upon it that we can set our country on a path towards these goals.”

Benjamin said until now, the U.S. health care system has focused on treating disease, rather than preventing it.

“Through the law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, critical investments are being made to help build healthy communities and strengthen public health systems and infrastructure at the state and local level. The fund is also ensuring that communities receive critical funding to implement sound, evidence-based interventions to detect chronic disease early, curb tobacco use, improve nutrition and increase physical activity.”

He said the law’s Medicaid expansion provision will transform a fragmented system of insurance coverage for the poorest of Americans into a “seamless and better coordinated program” that will improve access to preventive care for those who earn less than 133 percent of the poverty line.

“Ironically, many of the states that have opposed this particular provision are home to residents who experience the greatest need of this expanded coverage and are burdened by some of the worst health outcomes,” Benjamin said.

The law also expands affordable and comprehensive health insurance coverage to an additional 31 million uninsured Americans.

“APHA is disappointed with the House leadership’s decision to once again bring a bill to the floor to repeal this important, life-saving law. Instead, they ought to be working to ensure the law reaches its full potential.”

Founded in 1872, the APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at www.apha.org.

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