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ACP Expresses Support for Legislation to Increase Health Care Access and Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 — The American College of Physicians (ACP) signaled its strong support for provisions in the COVID relief legislation prepared by two congressional committees to increase access to health care services and health insurance coverage and combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In letters sent to the chairs and ranking members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, ACP detailed the benefits that patients and physicians would see from key health-related provisions in the budget reconciliation legislation to be voted on this week by the committees.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown our health care system into crisis,” said Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president, ACP. “We believe that many of the actions outlined in these proposals will help physicians and our patients. We need to ensure that we bring the pandemic under better control as quickly as possible, and we need to ensure that no one is forced to go without health care during this time while everyone’s health is under threat.”

The letter to the Ways and Means Committee expressed ACP’s strong support for provisions related to health care coverage and access. ACP supported the recommendations to reduce health care premiums for low- to middle- income Americans through increased tax credit subsidies; to subsidize COBRA coverage; and to provide premium subsidies for unemployed workers who are ineligible for COBRA. The letter further recommended that the tax credits should be extended permanently, beyond the end of the public health emergency created by the pandemic.

The letter to the Energy and Commerce Committee stated ACP’s strong support for provisions to incentivize states to expand Medicaid to all low-income persons, increase coverage for women’s health care services, and accelerate efforts to distribute vaccines and COVID-19 testing. ACP expressed its support for the higher levels of funding for vaccines and for testing and contact tracing, for community health centers and the public health workforce proposed in the legislation. The letter further indicated support for provisions related to Medicaid that would require the program to cover COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, extend postpartum coverage for women who were enrolled in the program while pregnant, and increase federal funding to states to expand Medicaid.

“As we face the threat of new, more infectious variants, while at the same time we are grappling with the logistics issues of vaccine distribution, we need to ensure that our patients, our physicians, and our health care system have the resources they need to respond to these challenges,” concluded Dr. Fincher. “We urge both chambers to work in a bipartisan manner to ensure that these policies are enacted without further delay to meet the health care and economic challenges that we face.”

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About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 163,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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