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American College of Physicians ‘Applauds’ President Obama’s Call for State Innovation on Health Insurance Coverage

White House statement endorses bipartisan legislation supported by ACP

WASHINGTON February 28, 2011 -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) today applauded President Obama for advocating that states have an earlier option to design their own approaches to provide coverage to their residents, as long as it is comparable to those offered through the health exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On January 27, in its annual State of the Nation’s Health Care Report[PDF], ACP recommended support for the same bipartisan Empowering States to Innovate Act, introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Scott Brown (R-MA) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

“The Empowering States to Innovate Act will provide an earlier option for states to chart their own paths to provide coverage, by accelerating and taking advantage of the waiver option that already exists in the Affordable Care Act,” noted ACP President J. Fred Ralston Jr., MD, FACP. “It could provide a basis for much-needed bipartisanship by giving states more options, sooner, as advocated by many governors, Republicans and Democrats alike, while preserving the ACA’s promise of providing coverage to all Americans. It recognizes that states differ greatly in their cultures and traditions and should be encouraged to try what works best for them—as long as their residents would get the comparable coverage and consumer protections.”

The Empowering States to Innovate Act would amend the ACA by moving up by three years (from 2017 to 2014) the effective date when states may seek waivers to establish their own plans to provide access to affordable coverage for their residents. They would be able to opt out of certain provisions through a waiver process, similar to that of Medicaid or CHIP, as long as the state proves it can provide health coverage at the same level as enacted in the ACA and that all residents will have coverage.

To be granted a waiver, states must show that they will provide coverage that is at least as comprehensive as the coverage defined by the ACA and offered through the Exchanges, will provide coverage and cost sharing protections against excessive out-of-pocket spending that are at least as affordable as the provisions of the ACA, provide coverage to at least a comparable number of its residents as the ACA would provide; and will not increase the Federal deficit. States that are granted waivers would receive the same amount of federal funding to expand coverage as they would have received without a waiver.

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The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 130,000 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 and Facebook.

Contact:
David Kinsman, (202) 261-4554
dkinsman@acponline.org
Jacquelyn Blaser, (202) 261-4572
jblaser@acponline.org

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