Report from ACP: The State of the Nation's Health Care

The ACP Advocate

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February 04, 2011
In this issue
» ACP Urges Americans to Pull Together to Move Health Care Forward

» Calling for a Rational Discussion of Health Care Resources

» 'Fix What Needs Fixing and Move Forward,' Obama Says of Health Reform

About this newsletter

The ACP Advocate is an e-newsletter, edited by the College's Washington, DC governmental affairs division, created to provide you, our members, with succinct news about public policy issues affecting internal medicine and patient care. To learn more about ACP's Advocacy and to access the ACP Advocate archives, go to

Welcome to The ACP Advocate.

This week we share with you a little bit about what ACP has been doing to advocate for internists in Washington.  Our first story focuses on our annual State of the Nation’s Health Care briefing that was held at the National Press Club last week.  We proposed specific ideas to encourage a bipartisan consensus to keep the essential changes made by the Affordable Care Act while making much-needed improvements.  We also released a new policy paper, How Can Our Nation Conserve and Distribute Health Care Resources Effectively and Efficiently?, that looks at how we move toward a more evidence-based approach to distribute limited resources in the coming years.  Our second story this week gives you information about the new paper and why we feel that this is an issue where it is crucial that ACP be a leader.  Also, for more information about the paper you can see a short video of ACP President, Dr. Ralston, and me discussing the paper on the ACP website.

Our last story this week looks at the President’s State of the Union address that was also held last week.  The President offered to consider GOP ideas to reduce “frivolous” medical liability lawsuits, which hopefully can open the door to bipartisan agreement on ways to reduce the costs of defensive medicine.  ACP is urging Congress to consider the idea of no-fault “health courts” to hear malpractice claims as well as enacting caps on non-economic damages.

In other news in Washington this week, on Wednesday the Senate voted against repealing the health care reform legislation.  In our next issue we’ll look a little more closely at this vote and where the Senate is likely to move on health care legislation.  Also in the Senate on Wednesday, they voted to repeal the 1099 reporting requirement for small businesses.  This provision of the ACA would require businesses to report detailed tax information for virtually all of their suppliers and business partners.  We greatly oppose the requirement and are encouraged that the Senate recognizes the undue burden this would place on physician practices and other small businesses.

Finally, the other big health care policy news of the week actually took place outside of Washington.  On Monday a Florida judge ruled that the ACA is unconstitutional.  While this ruling is far from the final word, it does introduce a new level of uncertainty for both the law and the health care industry as a whole.  You can read more of my thoughts on the ruling in my blog entry from Wednesday.  Also, look to our next ACP Advocate for a story about what impact this latest ruling may have on other challenges to the law.

For more coverage of what’s happening in Washington, take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty.  You can also follow me on Twitter @BobDohertyACP. 

And, as always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to:

Yours truly,

Bob Doherty
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians

In the news
» ACP Urges Americans to Pull Together to Move Health Care Forward
  College's president says politicians need to let the law 'take root and grow'

There's good news and bad news about the American health care system today, according to Dr. J. Fred Ralston Jr., president of the American College of Physicians.

The bad news is that the country is "facing an unprecedented crisis in affordable h... » Click to read the full article

» Calling for a Rational Discussion of Health Care Resources
  ACP policy paper proposes reasoning and framework for deliberation

The United States needs to get serious about reining in health care costs and finding more equitable, efficient and sustainable means of allocating limited resources to avoid even worse pain in the years to come, according to a new policy paper by the Amer... » Click to read the full article

» 'Fix What Needs Fixing and Move Forward,' Obama Says of Health Reform
  Others urge politicians not to repeal but to work together to make the law better

President Barack Obama didn't spend a lot of time talking about health care in his State of the Union address Jan. 26, but he had strong words for Republicans seeking to repeal last year's health-reform legislation.

"As we speak, this law is maki... » Click to read the full article

In focus
Will you qualify for the EHR incentive?
A new web tool from Medscape allows you to assess your knowledge about the new EHR financial incentives. Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentives: What Do You Know and Do You Know Enough? can help physicians determine what they may still need to do to qualify for the incentives. The tool is free, but requires users to complete a free registration with Medscape.

Free Print Version of Health Care Reform Brochure Available
Print copies of the joint ACP and AARP Consumer Guide to Understanding Health System Reform ( are now available for order. Available free in both English and Spanish the brochures are meant to be shared with your patients to answer their questions about health care reform. Guides will shipped in bundles of 100.

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