In response to the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), ISASS issues the following statement:
ISASS remains committed to working on behalf of our US-based spine surgeons to ensure that the PPACA is implemented in ways that ensure our patients’ access to medically indicated and appropriate spine surgeries and procedures. Simultaneously, we will advocate for the replacement of the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) with a fair and sustainable physician reimbursement model for doctors participating in Medicare.
The Court’s decision ensures important patient-friendly provisions, such as ending coverage denials due to pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps on insurance, and also allows approximately 2.5 million young adults up to age 26 who gained coverage under the law to stay on their parents’ health insurance policies. The decision also validates expanded health care coverage through Accountable Care Organizations and state Health Exchanges that will allow patients to see their doctors earlier rather than waiting for treatment until they are sicker, when care is more expensive.
We will continue to monitor other provisions that may threaten patient access to care and appropriate surgeon reimbursement, including the seemingly unchecked authority of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to unilaterally reduce expenditures and reimbursements. The decision also upholds funding for dedicated research on the comparative effectiveness of drugs and other treatments, including surgeries, and we will be vigilant to ensure that the findings of such research inform clinical decision-making rather than dictate that “least costly alternatives” be required of surgeons and their patients.
Steven Garfin, MD