FEDERAL | ASPS Announces Its Principles for Health Care Reform
During the Winter Board Meeting, the ASPS Executive Committee approved the ASPS Principles for Health Care Reform, which are the Society's overarching goals that must be pursued to improve the care experience for patients and providers. These principles articulate the Society's commitment to prioritizing patient access to care, rebuilding the physician/patient relationship and avoiding cost control measures that are disproportionately harmful to physicians. They also identify specific policy objectives to help achieve those goals, such as protecting patients from abusive insurance coverage practices, requiring health insurers to offer transparent networks with sufficient numbers of physicians in each specialty, reducing the regulatory burdens and meaningless box-checking that crowd out your time with patients, repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and enacting comprehensive federal medical liability reform.
ASPS issued a press release calling for improvements to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) following the bill's introduction. The Society responded to the Republican proposal through a letter to House leadership which called on Congress to incorporate or expand on aspects of the Society's Principles for Health Care Reform that were absent or not fully met. In the letter to Congressional leadership, ASPS stated that any reform of the American health care system must seek to reduce the number of uninsured individuals. ASPS voiced concern over the AHCA's move to per capita Medicaid payments, which will shift costs to state governments and taxpayers.
ASPS also requested that Congress include additional aspects of health care reform that were not addressed in the initial AHCA draft. ASPS has long advocated for the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was created under the Affordable Care Act. This unelected, unaccountable board of bureaucrats is empowered to usurp congressional authority over the Medicare program and institute mandatory cuts in addition to already sizeable reductions in payment to providers. There is currently bi-partisan and bi-cameral support for legislation that would eliminate IPAB, and ASPS encouraged Congress to recognize this important reform and include it within its health care reform bill.
Within the letter to Congress, ASPS highlighted the need to hold health carriers to higher network adequacy and transparency standards. Health insurers have recently ramped up efforts to create extremely narrow networks in order to reduce health claims. This has had a demonstrable, direct impact on patients' health provider options and access to needed specialist care. Federal legislation is needed to require carriers to design networks that have sufficient numbers of physicians in each specialty within a reasonable time and distance of patients who need care. The Society also encouraged members of Congress to address national medical liability reform.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons will continue to engage Congress to ensure that plastic surgeons and their patients are represented as the Administration and congressional leadership proceed with their plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.