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Internists Say the American Jobs Plan Will also Protect the Health of Americans

Statement attributable to:
Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, D.C. April 1, 2021 – The American College of Physicians (ACP) is glad to see the many ways that the American Jobs Plan would help to protect the health of those in our country. The infrastructure plan that the Biden administration proposed yesterday contains provisions that would help improve both health and health care.

The plan would expand access to long-term care services for Medicaid beneficiaries. Medicaid is a critical piece in how many older patients, and other vulnerable persons, can afford necessary long-term care. ACP believes that offering more flexibility, including alternatives to nursing homes, as the Biden administration plan does, will better serve individuals’ needs. Also included in the American Jobs Plan is the effort to bring affordable, high-speed broadband to all communities by way of a historic $100 billion investment. ACP strongly supports the proposals to bring high-speed internet to all Americans, including rural communities that lack any access to acceptable internet speeds. The ways in which the plan would help to improve health care includes major upgrades for Veteran’s Affairs (VA) hospitals. The VA system is badly in need of increased support, improving the hospitals where our veterans seek care would be an important step in improving their care. Importantly, they are also calling for the use of low-carbon materials and clean power for new VA hospitals and other federal buildings. ACP has long called for the use of environmentally sustainable and energy efficient practices as part of our policy on Climate Change and Health.

There are also provisions that more fundamentally help to protect the health of everyone in our country. The plan includes funding to help defend Americans against future pandemics. While we are all still reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to use the lessons learned over the past year to make sure that we are better prepared to weather the next pandemic and mitigate the dire heath and financial consequences we are seeing now. There is dedicated funding to invest in addressing the climate crisis. Climate change is here and it is already harming human health, measures that help to address climate change will also help to mitigate the negative impact on health. Finally, the plan includes provisions that would help to ensure the safety of drinking water in our communities. This funding would make improvements to the existing infrastructure to remove lead pipes and make other needed upgrades. It would also fund water monitoring so that we would better know when a community’s health is in danger. Inadequate funding for these types of public health functions poses a grave threat to our nation’s public health. In our policy on Strengthening the Public Health Infrastructure, ACP calls for more investment to protect the public from the environmental health and infection risks that things like issues with our water infrastructure present.

Our country cannot function its best without protecting the health of our residents. We are glad to see the American Jobs Plan recognizes the need to do more to ensure a healthy public.

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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: Taneishia Bundy, (202) 261-4523, tbundy@acponline.org