FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MARCH 28, 2012
AMSA Supports Affordable Care Act and Urges Supreme Court to Defend Health Care
Sterling, VA—This week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments to determine whether key provisions of the Affordable Care Act are constitutional. The American Medical Student Association (AMSA), the oldest and largest independent organization of physicians-in-training in the United States, has been fighting for quality affordable health care for more than 60 years. AMSA supports comprehensive health care reform that works for patients and physicians: expanding coverage, lowering costs and improving quality.
Monday’s testimony focused on whether the court has jurisdiction in the case or if they must wait until the law is enacted in 2014. Tuesday's hearing focused on the individual mandate, which requires that all Americans purchase health insurance, either through their employers or under individual plans, or pay a penalty. Wednesday’s hearing focused on whether the law can stand if the individual mandate is eliminated. Wednesday also included arguments over the expansion of Medicaid to subsidize an estimated 17 million more lower income Americans.
“The Affordable Care Act takes an initial step toward improving our broken health system,” says Colin McCluney, AMSA’s education and advocacy fellow. “By investing in prevention, health care workforce development, payment innovations and support for Medicare and Medicaid, the legislation has already spurred positive change. Instead of overturning Obamacare, we need to focus on improving and expanding healthcare access to all, regardless of ability to pay.”
The American Medical Student Association supports health care reform which expands comprehensive coverage for all Americans,” says Elizabeth Wiley, JD, MPH, AMSA president-elect. “As the nation’s next generation of physicians, we hope to realize health care as a right in this country through a health care system that guarantees quality, affordable health care for all.”
In a study released last year, “Healthcare Reform and the Next Generation: United States Medical Student Attitudes toward the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, researchers found that four out of five medical students support the Affordable Care Act with almost 95 percent of students agreeing that the health care system needs reform.
One federal appeals court has found the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Two others have has said it is a proper exercise of congressional mandate. A third court has ruled against the states on technical grounds, saying local officials lack authority to even go into to court and argue the individual mandate issue. Twenty-eight states and countless individuals and groups have sued the administration.
Recently, AMSA signed on to three amicus briefs in support of the Affordable Care Act. The first supports constitutionality of the individual mandate, the second supports constitutionality of the Medicaid reforms, and the third supports severability of the insurance provisions from the rest of the law, should any part be found unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court heard testimony through Wednesday of this week. A ruling is not expected until June.
About the American Medical Student Association
AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. To learn more about AMSA, our strategic priorities, or joining the organization, please visit us online at www.amsa.org.