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ACP advocates on behalf on internists and their patients on a number of timely issues. Learn about where ACP stands on the following areas:
© Copyright 2018 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved. 190 North Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106-1572
Toll Free: (800) 523.1546 · Local: (215) 351.2400
March 26, 2012
Attribution:Virginia L. Hood, MBBS, MPH, FACP
President, American College of Physicians
Washington - The American College of Physicians (ACP),
representing 132,000 internal medicine specialists and medical
student members, is pleased to report that the Affordable Care Act
(ACA) has resulted in major improvements in access and coverage for
tens of millions of Americans seen by internal medicine physicians.
Considering that it is just a little over two years since the ACA
was enacted into law, and many of its programs are not yet fully
effective, the ACA has had notable success in improving health
insurance coverage. Looking to the future, the ACA will ensure that
nearly all legal residents in the United States will have access to
affordable coverage beginning in 2014-if the law is allowed to be
Interestingly, the public policy discussion of the improvements
made by the ACA on its two-year anniversary is taking place in a
context when the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments this week
on lawsuits challenging the law's constitutionality. ACP did not
submit an amicus brief on the constitutional questions being
considered by the Supreme Court because our expertise is in
evidence-based assessment of the policies required to ensure that
our patients have access to health insurance, not in constitutional
law. But the evidence leads us to firmly believe that the ACA's
programs to expand health insurance coverage-including subsidies,
health exchanges, essential benefits packages, an individual
insurance requirement, and a single national eligibility standard
for Medicaid-are necessary to help protect and ensure the health of
the American people.
As a direct result of the ACA:
2.5 million young adults kept their health insurance coverage
because they were allowed to stay on their parents' plans. The
percentage of people between ages 19 and 25 being carried as a
dependent on a parent's employment-based coverage increased from
24.7 percent in 2009 to 27.7 percent in 2010. The number of young
adults with employment-based coverage as a dependent increased from
7.3 million to 8.2 million.
Through the end of July 2011, 1.28 million Americans with
Medicare received discounts on brand name drugs in the Medicare
Part D coverage gap - up from 899,000 through the end of June and
478,000 through the end of May. These discounts have saved seniors
and people with disabilities a total of $660 million. Figures
released a week ago from the Department of Health and Human
Services indicate 5.1 million seniors have saved more than $3.2
billion on prescription drugs because of the ACA.
More than 18.9 million Medicare beneficiaries, or 55.6 percent,
have received one or more preventive services at no out-of-pocket
cost to them.
The National Health Service Corps, which receives mandatory
funding under the ACA, has awarded nearly $900 million in
scholarships and loan repayment to health care professionals to
help expand the country's primary care workforce and meet the
health care needs of communities across the country. There are
nearly three times the number of NHSC clinicians working in
communities across America than there were three years
ago-increasing access to health care. In 2008, approximately 3.7
million patients were provided service by 3,600 NHSC clinicians.
With field strength of more than 10,000 clinicians, NHSC now
provides health care services to about 10.5 million patients.
Many patients seen by internal medicine specialists have
multiple chronic diseases (often labeled as "pre-existing
conditions" by health insurers), which makes it very difficult for
them to find health insurance at a premium they can afford. Under
the ACA, insurers won't be allowed to exclude them from coverage,
charge them an excessive premium, or refuse to renew their
coverage. These protections, already in effect for children, will
become effective for adults on January 1, 2014.
Studies suggest that an individual requirement is needed for
such reforms to work. Without an individual insurance requirement,
some people may wait to obtain insurance until they are sick, aware
that insurers will not turn them down or charge them higher
premiums (except for family size and tobacco use). This will drive
up premiums for everyone else, causing more persons to drop
coverage, and potentially, resulting in millions more uninsured
ACP also strongly supports requiring Medicaid to cover all
persons with incomes up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty
Level. This change, which initially will be paid for by the federal
government, is the most effective way to ensure that low-income
persons have access to coverage. Some 16 million vulnerable
Americans will receive coverage from this change.
When these and other programs enacted by the ACA become fully
implemented by 2014, it is estimated that 94 percent of legal
residents in the United States will have access to affordable
health insurance coverage, with 32 million persons who now have no
health insurance being able to obtain coverage. This will be a
historic achievement in improving the health of the American
people. Studies show that people without health insurance live
sicker and die younger than people with coverage.
ACP fervently hopes that the Supreme Court will chart a course
that does not derail implementation of the ACA's key programs to
expand coverage, while responsibly carrying out the court's
constitutional obligation to clarify the constitutional questions.
And we hope that a day will come when Congress will be able to move
beyond a partisan debate over "repeal and replace" of the ACA to
discussion of bipartisan improvements that could be made in the
law, without sacrificing the commitment it made to helping nearly
all Americans obtain affordable health insurance coverage.
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical
specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in
the United States. ACP members include 132,000 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.
David Kinsman, (202) email@example.com
Jacquelyn Blaser, (202) firstname.lastname@example.org