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Physician Group’s Health Reform Ideas

By October 9, 2009November 2nd, 2009Commentary

The American College of Physicians is comprised primarily of internal medicine doctors.  It is the country’s largest specialty group, with over 100,000 members.  ACP has released a white paper with its analysis of health reform issues and suggestions for reform measures.  (ACP Paper) While most of the reform proposals are not new, some of the positions are a little surprising.  For example, in addition to supporting technology assessments and comparative effectiveness research, the group strongly endorsed benefit designs which encourage patient cost-consciousness and shared decision making.  It also promoted price transparency by physicians and suppliers of medical products.  ACP supports a reintroduction of planning and potentially certificate-of-need programs to control the amount of resources in a particular area, recognizing that supply may drive inappropriate utilization.  It supported exploration of non-fee-for-service payment mechanisms.  ACP would like to see measures taken to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, but obviously did not volunteer to see physician incomes reduced, although acknowledging that doctors are paid more in the United States than other countries.   Overall, while the paper has some leanings you might expect from a physician group, it  is a thoughtful analysis of cost drivers and reform ideas.

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