ACP: Reduce Federal Health Care Spending in Socially, Fiscally Responsible Manner

The ACP has submitted a letter calling for reduction of federal health care spending in a socially and fiscally responsible manner.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) submitted a letter calling for the Congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to reduce federal health care spending in a socially and fiscally responsible manner.

The ACP recommends that a national initiative be established to increase the use of high-value care and reduce low-value care. The ACP urged that the initiative be modeled on its own High Value, Cost Conscious Care Initiative.

The letter also urged Congress to preserve and broaden graduate medical education (GME) financing by requiring that all payers participate in its funding while allocating funds strategically based on workforce needs.

“ACP’s letter shows that it is possible to promote high value care, reduce the federal deficit, permanently repeal the failed Medicare SGR formula and allow for continued funding of critical programs to expand access and ensure a sufficient supply of physicians. We stand ready to assist Congress in developing such a plan,” Virginia L. Hood, president of ACP, said in a statement.

“We have identified a specific menu of options, consistent with ACP policy, to achieve hundreds of billions in federal health care savings,” the letter said. “Such savings should be used to reduce the federal deficit, permanently pay for repeal of the failed Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and allow for continued funding of critical programs to ensure an adequate physician health care workforce, expand coverage, and improve outcomes.”

The letter also encouraged Congress to examine a new study released recently by researchers from Harvard University at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium. The study suggests that the United States may be able to save between 30% and 50% of total health care spending if incentives for clinicians, hospitals, and other providers are enacted. The letter goes on to say that if the Harvard researchers are correct, a substantial part of the savings would accrue to the federal government.

“ACP offers for your consideration the attached menu of options,” the letter states, “generally consistent with ACP policies, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Bipartisan Policy Center, and other trusted sources have said can achieve substantial budget savings. We recognize that many of the options are controversial, and the joint select committee may select some of the options while not including others and come up with other approaches we have not considered. This is why we present the options as a menu of policy changes that ACP would generally support, not as a package that we believe needs to be accepted in its entirety.”

SourcesReduce Federal Health Care Spending in Socially and Fiscally Responsible Manner, ACP Tells Congressional Joint Committee [American College of Physicians]Letter to Congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction [American College of Physicians]