AAFP Testimony to Small Business Committee: Health Plan Consolidation Harms Access to Care
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 25, 2007
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224
In some areas, health plan consolidation has resulted in a single company controlling access to health care for as many as 60 percent of patients in a community. Such consolidation has produced larger insurance companies that wield power over employer choice plans, employee choice of health care professionals and physicians’ ability to keep their doors open.
“This market concentration gives these health plans excessive power in determining the conditions of coverage, payment and practice,” King said Oct. 25 in testimony before the U.S. House Small Business Committee (5-page PDF; About PDFs)“… As a result, small businesses are not offered more affordable prices for their employees’ health plans but rather fewer choices of physicians who will accept the plans that are offered.”
Congress can rectify the situation by enacting legislation that changes current anti-trust law, King said.
“One step in this direction would be to engage the medical community on how the anti-trust laws could be changed to better support the small businesses that are medical practices, so that they can negotiate contracts with insurers from a position of equality,” he said.
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.