Despite any progresses made in health care in the U.S., there are still a lot of challenges facing the industry, not the least of which is a 'broken political culture.'
This year U.S. health care is expected to make a lot of progress, but will continue to face some steep challenges, according to the American College of Physician’s State of the Nation’s Health Care briefing on Thursday.
The report showed progress in a number of areas, such as improved access and reduced costs, but noted the recent and proposed cuts in federal funding for critical health programs. According to Virginia L. Hood, MBBS, MPH, FACP, president of the American College of Physicians, physicians are concerned that health care access and quality is uneven, and that health care cost increases will be unsustainable.
“But overall, [physicians] are extremely frustrated by what can only be described as a broken political culture that stands as perhaps the biggest barrier to achieving bipartisan, common-sense solutions to improve health care for the American people,” Hood said.
Although the country needs to reduce spending on programs are inefficient and ineffective, Hood is concerned that the nation will also underfund critical programs, resulting in more costly health care.
“Today, we are calling on Congress to replace the 1.2 trillion dollar across-the-board budget cuts mandated by sequestration with an alternative framework, one which will achieve fiscally and socially responsible policies to attain health care savings while preserving funding for critical programs,” she said.
Another change that the ACP is championing is the repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate. According to Robert B. Doherty, ACP’s senior vice president of government affairs and public policy, funds can be reallocated from Oversees Contingency Operations to eliminate SGR. These OCO funds will never be used since the U.S. is winding down operations in Afghanistan and has ended operations in Iraq.
Using these funds in this manner “will allow Congress to get rid of the SGR, once and for all, without budget offsets affecting other health care providers and/or Medicare enrollees,” Doherty said.