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Analysis

American College of Physicians Backs Medicare for All, Public Option

By Jack O'Brien  
   January 21, 2020

The physicians organization believes either approach can result in universal healthcare coverage.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends the implementation of a single-payer healthcare system or a public option to achieve universal healthcare coverage, according to a policy plan released Monday evening. 

ACP's position paper calls for comprehensive reform of the U.S. healthcare system, saying such policies would lower administrative costs and reduce barriers to accessing care. 

Under a single-payer system, ACP states that cost-sharing should be eliminated and payments for care should be "sufficient to ensure access and not perpetuate existing inequities."

The organization also states that a public option would be less disruptive to the healthcare system than a single-payer model but would still reduce some administrative costs.

“We believe that American health care costs too much; leaves too many behind without affordable coverage; creates incentives that are misaligned with patients’ interests; undervalues primary care and under invests in public health; spending too much on administration at the expense of patient care; and fosters barriers to care for and discrimination against vulnerable individuals," Robert McLean, MD, MACP, president of ACP, said in a statement.

ACP's announcement is the latest development in the public debate over healthcare reform, a discussion which has received input from Democratic presidential candidates, hospital leaders, and health insurance executives.

Some have called for the implementation of a Medicare for All-style system while others have pushed for reforms based on strengthening the Affordable Care Act or introducing a public option. 

Related: Jefferson Health CEO Gives Insight on How to Operate As Medicare for All Looms

In several polls, voters have expressed a strong desire for healthcare reform but remain skeptical about implementing a Medicare for All-style proposal that would eliminate the private insurance industry.

Related: 27% Support Medicare for All, Though Most Need More Info

In addition to recommending a single-payer health system or the introduction of a public option, ACP backs an expansion of payer rate setting, an increase in primary care investment, and the elimination of "disparities in payment between physicians’ cognitive services and procedures."

ACP also calls for redesigning electronic health records to assist physicians and value-based payment programs to improve outcomes and lower costs.

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: January 19, 2019 San Francisco / CA / USA - Participants to the Women's March event carry "Healthcare for all" sign while marching on Market street in downtown San Francisco - Image / Editorial credit: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com


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