Physicians Support Much of Clinton's Medicare Reform Proposal, Raise Several Concerns
July 1, 1999
Reforms must guarantee coverage for elderly and disabled Americans
(Washington, DC): The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) released a statement today praising many aspects of President Clinton's proposal to reform Medicare while raising additional questions. ACP-ASIM called the Clinton plan "a positive contribution towards the national discussion on how best to preserve and improve Medicare for future generations."
"Any reforms which are ultimately enacted must work to avoid an erosion of the guarantee that all elderly and disabled Americans, regardless of income, will have access to affordable health care coverage," says ACP-ASIM President Whitney Addington, MD, FACP.
The College specifically expressed support for eliminating co-payments for preventive services, as well as for providing Medicare with new private sector purchasing and quality improvement tools to improve care and constrain costs. Concerns and questions were raised about the "competitive defined benefit" for managed care plans and the proposal to charge beneficiaries a 20% co-payment for laboratory services.
ACP-ASIM looks forward to working with President Clinton and Republican and Democratic members of Congress on enacting legislation to strengthen and improve the Medicare program. The College recognizes the need for bipartisan support on any Medicare Reform legislation and encourages lawmakers to consider many elements of the President's proposal as part of a bipartisan plan while also considering other proposals for improving Medicare.
"The details of all such plans will need to be carefully examined to determine their impact on Medicare patients, particularly those of lower means," says Addington. "We will support only those reforms which honor the commitment to provide all beneficiaries with access to affordable health care, regardless of income or health status."
ACP-ASIM is the nation's largest medical specialty organization and the second largest physician group. Membership comprises more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students. Internists are the major providers of medical care to adults in America and treat more Medicare patients than any other medical specialists.
Jack E. Pope, ACP-ASIM Washington Office, 202-261-4556
Page updated: 11-04-03