To the editor:
The American College of Physicians (ACP), whose members are physicians practicing internal medicine and its subspecialties, has developed a new policy on universal access to medical care. The policies of the ACP are open to public view at www.acponline.org.
For many years, the ACP's position on access to care has been one of universal access. The ACP has worked to get legislation to Congress to implement such a program. One of the acts the ACP proposed was the HealthCARE Act of 2003 (S1030/HR 2402), which Congress did not pass.
The ACP continues to try to influence Congress. Recently, the ACP issued a policy paper, "Achieving a High Performance Health Care System with Universal Access: What the USA Can Learn from Other Countries." This is a scholarly paper based on the literature.
The ACP proposes eight recommendations to improve health care in the USA based on the lessons learned from the review and suggests it can be done in a "pluralistic system" or in a "single payer system." There are strong and weak points in either system discussed in the paper.
The ACP's position is that the status quo of a large segment of our population lacking insurance coverage is unacceptable. The ACP hopes that this paper will be a stimulus to the public, our politicians, elected officials and physicians to reform health care.
Dr. Donald W. Hatton,
chairman-elect, ACP board of governors,