Dermatologists weigh in on the Affordable Care Act

September 1, 2012

After the U.S. Supreme Court of the United States upheld the constitutionality of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the individual mandate requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance, a number of professional medical organizations reiterated concern about potential effects of the law.

Key Points

While American Academy of Dermatology Association President Daniel Siegel, M.D., said the act doesn't align with all of the AADA's health reform principles, he pointed out positive changes that include expanding healthcare coverage to more Americans and improvement of wellness efforts. The primary concerns he voiced were, what he termed, a missed opportunity to fix the Medicare payment formula, enact liability reforms, and the proposed Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). He said the AADA will work with Congress to make additional changes to the law.

On Call talked to dermatologists around the country about whether they were surprised by the Supreme Court's ruling, what changes they would like to see the AADA work toward, and what, if anything, they like about the ACA.

"I guess I was surprised at the logic that was necessary to allow this to be constitutional. I understand it, but it was the decision by (Chief) Justice (John) Roberts not to have the Supreme Court negate a decision that was made by Congress," he says. "He found a mechanism where he could do that without invoking the idea of penalty or mandate. I was surprised the extent to which the court had to go in order to make the law acceptable, but was not surprised it happened.

"The Supreme Court traditionally looks for ways to allow elected representatives to make the law," Dr. Dzubow adds. "Roberts said he wants to be viewed as an umpire of what is constitutional or unconstitutional, so the court is not viewed as the creator of law."