President's Message

July 2018

Steve Bartz, MD – WAFP President

Steve Bartz, MD – WAFP President

And here we go again……  With the steady slew of political news coming out of Washington these days it’s hard to keep up with everything.  Yet, it’s very important that we stay abreast of healthcare policy-related events which directly affect us and our patients.  Early reports (at the time I am writing this piece) indicate that a major effort will again soon be underway to dismantle the framework of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  With the WAFP having about 3000 members there is certainly a plethora of opinions on how health insurance should be framed and financed.  Opinions on major change that I have heard favored most are a single payer system and some form of Direct Primary Care where the physician, but not necessarily the patient, doesn’t deal with insurance companies at all.  But, despite the varying opinions, most members are unified on the concept that patients should have access to (at least) basic and affordable coverage.  It isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue but instead is a public health one.

A new repeal plan has been developed by several conservative groups headlined by the Heritage Foundation.  Similar to last year’s attempt to repeal the ACA, it would strip key provisions of Medicaid expansion and protections for those with pre-existing conditions.  Both of these two items have significant support among a plurality of Americans.  The public, by broad margins in polls, do not want their families and neighbors denied coverage due to pre-existing diseases.  The government’s own estimates are that approximately 20 million people would lose coverage under this proposed plan.  A version of this plan already failed in the US Senate last year (Cassidy Graham bill) and this attempt is a similar version with similar goals.

Another announced administrative plan is to expand cheaper low cost insurance products which don’t have minimum coverage limits.  Policy experts and economists say these policies will decimate traditional coverage plans by not providing a basic level of coverage and ultimately undercuting the insurance market.

Liberal, moderate, or conservative do we not all agree that, as the primary guardians of healthcare in this country, it is unacceptable to throw tens of millions of people off insurance roles without a viable replacement plan in its stead?  Even supporters of the current system admit that there are problems with it.  But, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  It’s common sense, and basic decency, to have another safety net plan in place before throwing millions of people off insurance roles. 

What do you think?  I’d like to hear from you at

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