The nations second-largest physician organization, the 124,000-member American College of Physicians, issued a recommendation that a universal health insurance plan is needed to provide all U.S. residents with equitable access to appropriate and continuous healthcare that is not dependent on employment status.
The recommendation was part of a report comparing the U.S. healthcare system with 12 other industrial nations and is included in a 53-page document that will be posted on the Web site of the ACPs journal, Annals of Internal Medicine. In an accompanying editorial, Annals Editor Harold Sox writes that the country seems headed for an unprecedented fiscal crisis if it cant control the costs of healthcare, and that the employment-based health insurance system is weakening under pressure from rising costs.
According to the ACP, there are two ways to achieve universal coverage: a single-payer government entity or a pluralistic system of government, for-profit and not-for-profit entities. For the second option to work, the ACP states that mixed systems must include guaranteed access to care for all and sufficient government subsidies for those who cannot afford private insurance.
Other recommendations in the report include developing policies that ensure an adequate supply of primary-care physicians and federal funding for an interoperable health information technology infrastructure. -- by Andis Robeznieks