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Chris Mazzolini is the editorial director of Medical Economics
The AMA says that the Affordable Care Act must be strengthened to meet the needs of patients who still lack insurance
The American Medical Association (AMA) believes that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) must be strengthened to meet the needs of patients who still lack insurance.
In a policy recommendation released during the AMA’s annual meeting, the organization called the ACA “imperfect” and said that future improvements must be targeted to providing coverage for the uninsured.
But the AMA’s recommendations are not as drastic as those called for by some physician groups. For example, in an apparent pushback on calls to scrap the ACA in favor of a “Medicare for all” plan, the AMA said incremental improvements are preferable to “upending the health insurance coverage of most Americans, including the more than 156 million enrolled in employer-sponsored coverage.”
The AMA also does not recommend creation of a public option in areas of the country lacking insurers participating in the healthcare exchanges. Other physician groups, such as the American College of Physicians, have recommended creation of a public option.
The AMA recommends:
“Since the ACA was enacted into law in 2010, millions of Americans have gained health insurance. The policy question now is how to improve the law to insure even more,” said AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, MD, in a news release. “We need policies to make coverage more affordable for millions of Americans-both in the premiums they pay, as well as their cost-sharing responsibilities.”
The AMA had previously put forward a policy proposal that the group says would result in coverage to millions of the uninsured. The core tenets of that policy are:
“The AMA is pursuing sustainable, practical solutions,” McAneny said. “Building on the ACA would help cover the uninsured without disrupting the coverage of most of Americans. We will continue to put our patients first as we engage in these debates moving forward.”