Physician Group Backs Two Approaches for Universal Coverage
On Monday, the American College of Physicians said that the U.S. should provide universal health coverage, and could do so either through a single-payer health care system or a pluralistic approach, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. ACP is the second-largest U.S. physician group; its recommendations are based on an analysis of health care systems in the U.S. and 12 other industrialized nations.
In addition, ACP said that the U.S. could use a pluralistic system to expand health insurance to all residents.
A single-payer health care system has lower administrative costs than a pluralistic system, but a pluralistic system provides consumers with more choices and has more support in the U.S., according to ACP.
David Dale, president of ACP, said, "I'm not a political analyst. I'm just a doctor. But I think there will probably be resistance" to a single-payer health care system in the U.S. According to Dale, ACP is the largest general interest physician group to support a single-payer health care system. The American Medical Association, the largest U.S. physician group, does not support a single-payer health care system.
ACP also recommended increased reimbursements for primary care physicians to help prevent a shortage, the implementation of a uniform billing system and expanded use of electronic health records to reduce administrative costs (Burling, Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/4).