Wednesday, July 18, 2012
This Week's News
ACA an important first step, but much work to be done
Last month's Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has many physicians and patients asking a simple question: What's next? For starters, here are a few highlights of what's happened already:
- 54 million Americans have benefitted from expanded coverage for prevention and wellness care.
- 3.1 million young adults up to age 26 have gained coverage through a provision allowing them to stay on their parents' insurance.
- 5.1 million Medicare patients saved significantly on prescription drugs in 2010 and 2011.
These facts, featured in one of two new documents from the AMA, illustrate how the ACA is an important first step toward improving the nation's health care system. But there is much to be done, and the AMA continues to work with Congress and the Obama Administration to ensure the best outcomes for patients and physicians.
With that work in mind, three of the AMA's top priorities include:
- Eliminating the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, a provision of the ACA that will impose arbitrary across-the-board cuts to physicians and other providers.
- Replacing Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula with new payment systems that reward physicians for the value of care they provide.
- Fixing the nation's broken medical liability system for patients and physicians.
A second AMA document details these and other facts about how the ACA is already helping patients and physicians as well as more detail on how the AMA is leading efforts to improve the health care system. It provides context about the ACA, listing major provisions that are consistent with AMA policy, changes to the law that have been accomplished with AMA support and additional changes for which the AMA is advocating.
While the ACA is a significant step toward an improved health care system, the journey is far from complete. The AMA is focused on pursuing policies that assure physicians in all communities and practice settings—including small independent practices—have the tools, information and resources they need to make successful practice choices as the transformation continues. Learn more about the AMA's efforts in achieving these goals on behalf of physicians and patients.
Also, read a column on physician blog KevinMD.com by AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, covering these goals.