ACP expresses support for key policies of Affordable Health Care for America Act

November 02, 2009

Washington, November 2, 2009 - The American College of Physicians (ACP) today sent a letter to House leaders voicing the College's support for key policies in the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

"We are pleased that H.R. 3962 will expand health insurance coverage to 96% of all legal residents in the United States; promote the value and importance of primary care, prevention and wellness; and reform payment and delivery systems to achieve better value for patients, defined as the best care delivered as efficiently as possible," Joseph W. Stubbs, MD, FACP, president of ACP said in the letter.

ACP then provided specific policies it supported in the bill. There are some seven policies noted in the coverage area, while four policies drew particular note under primary care, prevention and wellness. Support for eight policies was noted in the reform of delivery and payment systems area.

Of particular importance to the ACP is the emphasis on improving access to primary care, prevention and wellness. Dr. Stubbs noted that H.R. 3962 will invest $57 billion to increase Medicaid payments to primary care physicians so that they are no less than the comparable Medicare rates. "Without such steps to bring Medicaid payments up to par with other payers, the tens of millions of persons who will be added to the Medicaid program will find it increasingly difficult to find a primary care physician who is accepting additional Medicaid patients, " Dr. Stubbs wrote. He also expressed ACP's support for an investment of $4.7 billion to fund an increase in Medicare payments for evaluation and management services provided by primary physicians, expansion of primary care training programs, and funding for two Medicare and one Medicaid pilots of the Patient-Centered Medical Home.

"Although H.R. 3962 does not have any provisions relating to the sustainable growth rate (SGR), we appreciate your support for The Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009, H.R. 3961, and your commitment to seeing this bill enacted into law this year," Dr. Stubbs pointed out. "H.R. 3961 would repeal the SGR, eliminate all of the accumulated payment cuts, and create a new system that would provide a growth target of GDP plus two percent for primary care and preventive services and GDP plus one percent for all other services."

ACP's letter concluded by saying, "While the College believes that additional steps will be required to reverse a catastrophic shortage of primary care physicians for adults, to make the cost of health care sustainable, to reduce the costs of defensive medicine, and to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable coverage, H.R. 3962 would represent an historic step forward to achieving ACP's desired future of a U.S. health care delivery system that provides access, best quality care and health insurance coverage for 100% of its people."
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The American College of Physicians (www.acponline.org) is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 129,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter (www.twitter.com/acpinternists) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/acpinternists).

American College of Physicians

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