The Repeal of the Affordable Care Act and Its Likely Impact on Chronic Pain Patients: “Have You No Shame?”
Michael E Schatman,1,2 Hannah Shapiro,3 Jeffrey Fudin4– 7
1Department of Diagnostic Sciences, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA; 2Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA; 3McLean Hospital, Division of Alcohol, Drugs, and Addiction, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; 4Remitigate Therapeutics, Delmar, NY, USA; 5Department of Pharmacy Practice, Albany College of Pharmacy, Albany, NY, USA; 6Department of Pharmacy Practice, Western New England University, Springfield, MA, USA; 7Stratton VA Medical Center, Albany, NY, USA
Correspondence: Michael E Schatman Tel +1 (425) 647-4880
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in March of 2010 by President Barack Obama, and represented the most significant expansion of health care coverage and regulatory overhaul since the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.1 The expansion of the number of individuals covered by health insurance under the ACA, most notably the clause prohibiting insurers from refusing to cover those with pre-existing conditions, has dramatically improved access to chronic pain management for approximately 50 million Americans living with chronic pain.2 For a number of years, we have been writing about the urgent need to improve the deteriorating quality of pain management in the United States.3–6 Many patients believe that the war on prescription opioids, patients who rely upon them, and physicians with the audacity to still prescribe them has resulted in the marginalization of the nation’s pain care system.7–11 However, the looming potential demise of the ACA based purely on political motivations and characterological flaws presents an existential threat of colossal proportions to chronic pain patients.
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