Washington, DC (January 15, 2021) — In reaction to the American Rescue Plan announced by President-elect Biden, ACP is supportive and encouraged by many of the recommendations put forth to slow the transmission of COVID‐19, rapidly distribute and vaccinate one hundred million people in his first 100 days in office, and to also address the health inequities painfully obvious during the pandemic. ACP offered recommendations to the Biden-Harris transition team on changes that would drastically help improve the state of public health in the U.S. in a previous letter, including the development of an evidence-based, science-focused response to COVID-19.
In the Emergency Legislative Package that calls for funding to increase the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations and provide financial relief to underserved communities struggling with the impact of the pandemic, President-elect Biden’s vision aligns closely with many of the policy recommendations from ACP, specifically:
- Addressing the need to address racial inequities and health disparities, consistent with ACP’s Comprehensive Policy Framework to Understand and Address Disparities and Discrimination in Health and Health Care: A Policy Paper from the American College of Physicians, including the proposals to increase funding to provide health services for vulnerable and underserved populations including for Community Health Centers; protecting vulnerable populations in congregate settings including persons who are incarcerated; ensuring access to vaccines without regard to immigration status; and increasing funding for treatment and vaccinations for underserved populations.
- Increasing funding for vaccinations, testing, and public health. ACP supports the proposals to fund a national vaccination program in partnership with states, localities, Tribes and territories; expand the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to 100% for the administration of vaccines; increase funding for testing and contact tracing; provide funds for the purchase of rapid tests, expand lab capacity, and hiring of public health workers to work in their local communities to perform vital tasks like vaccine outreach and contact tracing. Vaccine distribution and prioritization should be guided by ACP’s recommendations on the Provision, Distribution, and Payment of COVID-19 Vaccines to support the essential role of community-based physicians, and ACP’s policy statement on the Ethical Allocation of Vaccines During Pandemics including COVID-19.
- Addressing shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). ACP supports the proposals to increase funding for the Disaster Relief Fund to ensure sufficient supplies and PPE, to expand domestic manufacturing for pandemic supplies, and to fully use the Defense Production Act and to safeguard the country by producing more pandemic supplies in the U.S. as ACP has previously recommended.
- Expanding paid family and medical leave. ACP supports expanding paid sick and family and medical leave to help parents with additional caregiving responsibilities when a child or loved one’s school or care center is closed; for people who have or are caring for people with COVID-19 symptoms, or who are quarantining due to exposure; and for people needing to take time to get the vaccine, consistent with ACP’s previous recommendations for the government to mandate and provide federal funding so that all employers will implement paid family and medical leave.
“ACP applauds the plans outlined by President‐elect Biden to address the critical needs of both patients and physicians", said Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president, ACP. "On behalf of the internal medicine community we are ready, willing and able to help move our country past this unprecedented public health emergency through a multi‐step plan that addresses so many critical needs of our patients and our health care profession.”
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.
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