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ACP Leaders Urge Consideration of Presidential Candidates’ Proposals for a Better U.S. Health Care System

Washington, D.C. October 26, 2020 – As voters cast their ballots, it is important for them to know the health care proposals of the two presidential candidates and how they will address and improve the U.S. health care system especially in light of the problems with the system that have been underscored this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, say leaders from the American College of Physicians (ACP).  In an opinion piece published in the Annals of Internal Medicine today, they compared the proposals of President Donald Trump and former Vice-President Joe Biden, to ACP’s comprehensive framework for improving health care in the U.S.

Better Is Possible: The American College of Physicians' Vision for the U.S. Health Care System was published earlier this year and lays out ACP’s comprehensive, interconnected set of recommendations for systematic health care reforms.  The series begins with an overview paper that seeks to answer the question, “what would a better health care system for all Americans look like?” An additional set of ACP policy papers address issues related to coverage and cost of care, health care payment and delivery systems, barriers to care and social determinants of health, and more.

The new piece begins by stating that “Health care in the United States costs too much, is unaffordable for too many, spends too much on administration, produces outcomes that are unfavorable compared to other countries, misaligns incentives with patient interests, and undervalues primary care and public health.” It further notes that while ACP is a non-partisan physician-led member organization, they believe it is important to identify key differences in the candidates’ policies on health care issues that affect patients. Throughout, they reference how the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on why these improvements need to be made.

“Every day in my practice I see first-hand how deficiencies in the U.S. health care system harm my patients, and make it more difficult for me as a primary care internist to provide the best care for them” said Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president, ACP. “Health care and the views of our country’s leaders are critical issues for all of us to consider as we cast our ballots.”

The article compares ACP’s healthcare vision to the views and public records of the candidates on eight different challenges facing the U.S. health care system including:

  • Achieving universal health care coverage.
  • Ensuring coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.
  • All insurance plans including an essential health care benefit package emphasizing high-value care.
  • Expansion of Medicaid to lower-income persons in all states.
  • Prescription drug pricing.
  • Physician payment reform that appropriately values primary care and cognitive care services.
  • Decreasing health care administrative requirements and standardizing and streamlining billing and reporting.
  • Equitable access to care regardless of an individual’s personal characteristics or life circumstances.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the limitations of our health care system when faced with a national crisis, and has made clear how critical a high-functioning health care system is to the well-being of each of us, our families and our communities,” said Heather Gantzer, MD, MACP, chair, Board of Regents, ACP. “This article allows each reader to thoughtfully consider the positions of the presidential candidates, and decide for themselves, based on the candidate’s positions, which one could move us closer to the goal of better health care for all Americans."

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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