The American College of Physicians (ACP), the nation’s second-largest physician group, claiming 159,000 members, has announced its support for “single-payer, public option plans.” This proposal is really a “no options” plan, according to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).
“This proposal is a 180-degree shift from the American Medical Association’s stand in 1965, when it proclaimed that ‘The voluntary way is the American way,’” states AAPS executive director Jane M. Orient, M.D. “Reading the actual plan reveals that it is the involuntary way.” She points to key provisions:
- “The ACP believes that to achieve true universal coverage, coverage must be compulsory.”
- “Enrollment in any new U.S. system must be mandatory.”
- “The ACP opposes the sale of duplicative coverage.”
According to ACP senior vice president Robert Doherty, the organization still envisions a limited potential role for private supplemental insurance in its preferred single-payer model. Dr. Orient points out that this means people could get coverage for luxury services like cosmetic surgery but would be restricted to the government-funded plan for life-saving services—as in Canada and in U.S. Medicare for the elderly.
For inevitable cost overruns, ACP supports a global budgeting model: “the process by which society chooses, directs, and enforces how much to spend on health care, what to spend it on, and where that spending will take place.” In Canada, this means that when the budget is exhausted, the operating room closes, Dr. Orient noted.
ACP plans to reduce administrative costs through a government takeover, but Dr. Orient states that Medicare grossly understates administrative costs and shifts them to the private sector. Moreover, the Department of Justice claims that there have been $19 billion in fraudulent Medicare charges since 2007.
The death-panel equivalent is palliative care, observes Dr. Orient. ACP states: “One quarter of Medicare dollars are spent during the last year of a beneficiary’s life…. Palliative care has been shown to reduce costs, particularly in the hospital setting.”
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.