Second-Largest U.S. Physician Group Endorses Single-Payer and Public Option Plans

January 24, 2020

For the first time, the American College of Physicians (ACP) has called for transitioning to a single-payer system or a public choice system offered alongside regulated private insurance to achieve universal insurance coverage.

ACP proposes to control health care costs by lowering excessive prices, increasing adoption of global budgets and all-payer rate setting, prioritizing spending and resources, increasing investment in primary care, reducing administrative costs, promoting high-value care, and incorporating comparative effectiveness and cost into clinical guidelines and coverage decisions.

Impact on employer plans:  Under the ACP’s public choice approach, those covered by employer-sponsored insurance would be able to choose to enroll in the public insurance plan or remain in their existing plan.

Employers would need to financially contribute to the public option when employees choose it over the employer-sponsored plan, or alternatively, employers could choose to pay to enroll their employees in the public plan rather than offering a private plan.

  • Employer-sponsored insurance would also have to meet new benefit and regulatory standards to prevent adverse selection, ensure a level playing field, and promote equitable coverage.

Takeaway:  ACP's endorsement indicates the provider community is not monolithically opposed to sweeping health care reform, which along with strong public support raises the possibility that some type of public option might pass in 2021 depending on the outcome of the November elections.