The AMA reaffirms support for insurance requirement and the latest on the debt ceiling

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July 15, 2011
In this issue
» AMA Maintains Stance That All Americans Are Responsible for Getting Health Insurance

» Efforts Underway to Target Patients Unlikely to Follow Doctor's Orders

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.

I’m pleased to start off this issue by reporting to you the news in our first story.  At its June meeting, the American Medical Association's House of Delegates passed a resolution to reaffirm the necessity of a personal responsibility requirement (the individual mandate) as part of health reform.  Continuing to emphasize the importance of the requirement is crucial.  Without requiring everyone (including the young and healthy among us) to have health insurance, the system simply won’t be able to provide coverage to all at rates that are affordable.  This sort of requirement is necessary in order to continue to have a viable private payer system.
Our second story takes a brief look at something a little different.  FICO, the credit scoring agency, recently released a new scale designed to measure the likelihood of patient adherence to their doctors’ orders.  Because it’s so new, just how the scale may be used remains to be seen.
Finally, I want to tell you a little bit about ACP’s most recent efforts in conjunction with the debt-ceiling debate currently taking place in Washington.  As you most likely know, the federal government has until Aug. 2 to raise the ceiling allowed for the federal debt limit in order to avoid defaulting on payments we owe.  If it does not reach a deal by that point, it is likely that Medicare and Medicaid payments may be affected, although exactly how is undetermined.  In addition, as the White House and Congress move forward in negotiating a deal, it is likely that health care dollars will come into play as a part of that deal.  To that end, last week ACP sent a letter to the White House and congressional leadership emphasizing the effects that an interruption in payments could have on patients. The letter also asked that a long-term solution to the recurring Medicare payment problems be included in the debt-ceiling deal.  Additional details about the debate and our asks are in two of my most recent blog posts.
Our next edition will be coming out on Aug. 19.  I hope that by then this issue will be long resolved and we’ll be reporting to you on its resolution.  In the meantime, please watch the ACP website in both the Advocacy and Running a Practice sections for more information as the debate progresses.
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
» AMA Maintains Stance That All Americans Are Responsible for Getting Health Insurance
  ACP led effort to retain support for key provision of health-reform law

The American Medical Association, with support from the American College of Physicians, has reaffirmed its backing of one of the cornerstones of the Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate.

"The AMA is viewed by the public and legislators as ... » Click to read the full article

» Efforts Underway to Target Patients Unlikely to Follow Doctor's Orders
  Rating the probability of medication adherence could improve health costs and outcomes, advocates say

How likely is it that a particular patient will take medication prescribed by a doctor? Now there's a new way to get an answer to that question.

A company called FICO, best known for determining how likely people are to pay their bills, has devel... » Click to read the full article

In focus
CMS call on 2012 PQRS and eRx programs
On Tues., July 26, CMS will host an informational conference call for providers about the 2012 Physician Quality Reporting System (formerly PQRI) and the 2012 Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program. Registration for the call closes on Mon., July 25 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional information about these programs is also available from the College on the Running a Practice section of the ACP website. (eRx and PQRS)

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