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Internists diagnose health-care system ills, show how to achieve universal coverage
Date:12/3/2007

1. Proide universal health insurance coverage to ensure that all residents have equitable access to appropriate health care without unreasonable financial barriers. Health insurance coverage and benefits should be continuous and not dependent on place of residence or employment status.

ACP calls on policymakers to consider adopting one of the following two pathways to achieve universal coverage:

  • a pluralistic system in which government entities as well as not-for-profit and private, for-profit organizations ensure universal access while allowing individuals the freedom to purchase private supplemental coverage. An advantage of a pluralistic system is that it builds on the current American approach to provision of health services. The disadvantages of this system are that it is likely to result in inequalities in coverage and higher administrative costs, both of which are features of our current system. To be successful, pluralistic financing models need to provide a legal guarantee that all individuals have access to coverage and sufficient government subsidies to pay for coverage for those who cannot otherwise afford it.
  • a single-payer system in which one government entity is the sole third-party payer of health care costs. The advantages of single-payer systems are that they generally are more equitable, have lower administrative costs, have lower per capita health care expenditures, have higher levels of patient satisfaction, and have higher performance on measures of quality and access than systems using private health insurance. The disadvantages of this system include potential shortages of services subject to price controls and delays in obtaining elective procedures. The financial model for a single-payer system must be flexible and expandable, given the projected growth in the population of the elderly and expected advances in medical science and technology.

In the new paper, ACP offers a comprehensive an
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Contact: Stephen Majewski
smajewski@acponline.org
215-351-2514
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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