Letter to President Bush Regarding ACP-ASIM Efforts
February 13, 2001
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Bush:
The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) urges you to include a refundable tax credit for the uninsured in the FY 2002 budget that you will submit to Congress. The College developed its own specific recommendations for a tax credit for the uninsured and also supported bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Jeffords (S.2320) and House Majority Leader Armey (H.R. 4113) in the last Congress. ACP-ASIM is the largest medical specialty society in the country and the second largest physician group. Membership comprises more than 115,000 physicians who specialize in internal medicine and medical students.
The College strongly supports the use of tax credits to bring health insurance within the financial reach of at least a portion of the nearly 43 million uninsured Americans. Recent studies by ACP-ASIM present strong evidence that the lack of health insurance is a serious health risk. The first in the series is an overview report called No Health Insurance: It's Enough to Make You Sick and the second specifically addresses the health impact of being uninsured in the Latino population. A third report will be released in mid-March that addresses this hidden epidemic in women. These studies are available on our web site ("http://www.acponline.org").
Many of the elements of the ACP-ASIM tax credit proposal are consistent with Senator Jeffords’ and Rep. Armey’s bills of the last Congress. With the support you expressed during the 2000 campaign for a tax credit for the uninsured, the College is greatly encouraged that the final tax bill will contain some strong provisions to help mostly working families. The following are the elements that we consider most important:
- Tax credits should be targeted to lower-to-moderate income Americans. This will keep the federal cost within a range that is prudent and enactable.
- The premium support should be substantial enough to make the purchase of insurance realistic for the targeted group.
- Tax credits should be refundable so that premium payments can be made when they are due, rather than at the end of the year.
- The structure of the tax credit should be compatible with existing programs such as CHIP and Medicaid to avoid unintended gaps in coverage or barriers to enrolling in public or private health plans.
- Tax credits should not be available to those who have employer-provided health insurance.
The College appreciates your support of a refundable tax credit for the uninsured. We look forward to working with your administration and members of Congress to develop a proposal that can receive bipartisan support and make a meaningful contribution to the lives of uninsured Americans. Please call the ACP-ASIM Washington Office if we can assist in any way.
Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD, FACP