The American College of Physicians, the nation’s second-largest doctors’ organization, has endorsed “Medicare for All” as well as a public option as possible ways for the U.S. to achieve universal health care coverage for its citizens.
ACP represents internal medicine doctors that often serve as a patient’s primary care physician. The organization is known as more liberal than other medical associations, and has spoken out against repealing the Affordable Care Act.
In contrast, the nation’s largest doctors’ organization, the American Medical Association, also wants to see universal coverage but it taking a different stance. At its 2019 annual meeting, the organization’s delegates voted to push for coverage by boosting the ACA. In doing so, the AMA says the country should build on the ACA’s success to help ensure coverage for patients instead of moving to Medicare for All.
Although the AMA opposes Medicare for All, the organization has withdrawn from a coalition of industry groups that oppose government-run single-payer health care. The AMA has pulled out of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, an industry group that opposes Medicare for All.
“The American Medical Association firmly believes that the best pathway to expand affordable, high-quality health insurance coverage to all Americans is through a mix of private and public health insurance options. We remain opposed to Medicare for All, and policies that reduce patient choice and competition, and are built on flawed financing policies,” said James L. Madara, AMA CEO and executive vice president, told FierceHealthcare.
“The AMA decided to leave the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future so that we can devote more time to advocating for these policies that will address current coverage gaps and dysfunction in our healthcare system,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ACP endorsed both full-scale single-payer health insurance and an optional government-run plan as competing options that can both achieve universal coverage.
“Currently, the United States is the only wealthy industrialized country that has not achieved universal health coverage,” the organization said in a position paper. “The nation's existing health care system is inefficient, unaffordable, unsustainable, and inaccessible to many.”
The ACP also called for moving farther to a payment system for doctors and hospitals that incentivize quality care, rather than the old system of paying for the number of services provided.
The group called for increasing payments for primary care, which many of its members practice, saying it is currently undervalued.