Tennessee Doctors Weigh in on Healthcare Reform

TMA Board Issues Statement Recommending Improvements to Federal Policies

February 1, 2017

As the entire nation watches to see what happens to the Affordable Care Act under the Trump administration, the Tennessee Medical Association has released specific recommendations its physician members believe can improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare in the U.S.

The state’s largest professional organization for doctors conducted a thorough analysis of specific provisions that help improve patient care and lower costs, and other elements of the ACA that can and should be improved.

“Our Board of Trustees feels it is important for physicians to take a leadership role in defining and communicating what is best for patients,” said TMA President Keith G. Anderson, MD of Memphis. “Important decisions being made in Washington will affect how healthcare is delivered and paid for in Tennessee, and across the U.S. Tennessee physicians should have a voice in that process.”

The controversial ACA generated some notable gains its proponents lauded, such as increased access to health insurance for Americans, but was also wrought with problems and unintended consequences for patients and physicians. In its policy, TMA offers six recommendations for President Trump and Congress to consider as they explore a potential repeal and replacement of the ACA.

  1. Reduce barriers to patients receiving care, including prohibiting healthcare insurance companies from denying coverage for preexisting conditions, reinstituting lifetime benefit limits on coverage for some patients, and allowing families to keep children on their plans up to age 26.

  2. Make wellness a major focus by eliminating out-of-pocket charges for preventive care, training more primary care physicians, reining in the cost of drugs and creating more physician-led medical homes and health homes.

  3. Pay for quality while reducing unnecessary regulatory and administrative requirements for healthcare providers, and stimulating the use of information technology.

  4. Level the healthcare playing field by forcing health insurance plans to maintain adequate provider networks, scrutinizing monopolistic health plan mergers, improving processes for reducing fraud and abuse, and incentivizing employers and employees to pursue health coverage and HSAs.

  5. Give states more flexibility to expand health insurance coverage in the form of block grants they can use to design and implement programs that best fit each state’s population.

  6. Increase and improve end of life care by requiring reimbursement for doctors who have conversations about advance directives, and increasing grant funding for physician education and training.

 

TMA is among the most influential healthcare voices in the Tennessee General Assembly, and actively advocates for physicians and their patients at the federal level. The organization is committed to making sure healthcare policies and regulations come that come down from the federal government lead to accessible, affordable, quality healthcare in Tennessee.