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: TheACPAdvocate@acponline.org
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians