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'SCHIP funding levels too low' ACP tells Senate Finance Committee Leaders

Washington -- The chair of the Board of Regents of the American College of Physicians (ACP) today commended Senate Finance Committee Leaders for working on a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) but expressed concern that funding levels are too low and that pending Medicare cuts are not addressed.

Joel S. Levine, MD, FACP, noted in a five-point letter to Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee, and Charles Grassley, ranking member of the Finance Committee, that ACP believes the final authorizing legislation should include:

  • Expanded eligibility and funding to cover all currently eligible children and to provide coverage to more children from lower income families. The College said that the current funding levels in the bill are insufficient and noted that they are substantially lower than the budget resolution approved by Congress on May 7.

  • A federal grant program to support states that redesign their Medicaid and SCHIP programs around the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH). The PCMH provides patients with care coordinated by a primary care physician. The potential of this model to improve care and lower costs is supported by the experience of states, like North Carolina, that already are implementing it, and by numerous studies on the beneficial impact of care coordinated by primary care physicians.
  • Higher taxes on tobacco, such as proposed by Senators Baucus and Grassley. Given the fact that smoking is the number one cause of preventable deaths in the United States and a huge contributor to the growing numbers of patients with chronic diseases covered by federal government, funds from higher tobacco taxes should be applied to the SCHIP reauthorization and to avert Medicare physician payment cuts.
  • Provisions to replace Medicare physician fee cuts. Under current law, a 9.9 percent Medicare physician payment cut will go into effect Jan.
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Contact: David Kinsman
dkinsman@acponline.org
202-262-4554
American College of Physicians
18-Jul-2007


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