The nations second-largest physician organization has called on the presidential candidates of both parties to pledge to support a plan that it says will help make the U.S. healthcare system second to none.
In its annual report on the state of the nations healthcare, the 124,000-member, Philadelphia-based American College of Physicians details where the U.S. system lags behind other countries and why. It also offers recommendations on what the president and Congress can do to solve the problems.
In analyzing the various programs candidates have offered, the ACP says the Democrats need to explain how their proposals would be funded and more clearly describe how they would control costs. The report states that there is not enough evidence that the tax credits and market approaches the Republican candidates support will be sufficient to make health insurance affordable to all.
The report also states that none of the candidates have proposed anything that will avert an impending collapse of primary medicine in the United States and that measuressuch as expanding Medicaidneed to be taken to protect people from losing their coverage as a result of an economic recession.
The ACP calls for an increase in public investment in health information technology and notes thatcompared with six other countries with well-performing healthcare systemsthe U.S. ranks last in per capita spending on healthcare IT. According to the report, the U.K. spent almost $193 per capita on health IT in 2005, while the U.S. spent 43 cents. In 2006, the report stated that 98% of Dutch physicians had electronic medical-record systems compared with only 28% in the U.S.
According to the ACP, if the U.S. had a healthcare system that was second to none, everyone would have affordable health coverage, physicians would have EMR systems, primary-care physicians would be better compensated, and physician compensation would be based not just on how many services are provided, but also for their effectiveness in improving quality, coordinating care and for preventive services.
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