ACC president emphasizes access to insurance, quality care in letter to Senate

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The repeal-and-replace program for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has passed through the U.S. House of Representatives, meaning the Senate will soon begin work on comprehensive legislation. Debate remains just how much the Senate will take from the House’s American Health Care Act.

But before that conversation begins, Mary Norine Walsh, MD, president of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), issued a letter to Senate leadership.

“I ask that you and your colleagues prioritize patient access to meaningful insurance coverage and quality, cost-effective care as the Senate contemplates action to reform our healthcare system,” she wrote.

The May 11 letter also lists ACC principles that could help guide the upcoming debate. These points include:

  • Expand access to and prevent loss of health care coverage through public and private programs.
  • Guarantee access to affordable coverage options for patients with cardiovascular disease or other pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Improve access to and coverage of preventive care and expand the nation’s investment in research, prevention, public health, and disease surveillance.
  • Continue and build upon policies to promote usability and interoperability of health information technology to improve patient care and outcomes.
  • Maintain commitment to patient-centered, evidence-based care and reverse the trends toward decreased personal contact between the patient and the physician/care team.
  • Emphasize professionalism, transparency, and the collaborative clinician-patient relationship to improve quality and promote better outcomes.
  • Foster collaborative development, testing, and expansion of models that promote and reward value, team-based care, and shared decision making through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and other entities.
  • Minimize barriers to the delivery of efficient, high-quality cardiovascular care in all practice settings.

Walsh addressed the letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sens. Orrin Hatch, Ron Wyden, Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray.

“In the midst of a rancorous public debate, we must all fix our sights on a single goal: to improve health care in America. It is a goal we all share, regardless of where we stand on the political spectrum,” Walsh wrote. “To that end, I ask you and all of your colleagues to prioritize protection for the most vulnerable Americans as health reform efforts move forward.”