AAFP to lawmakers: Health insurance market consolidation hurts family physicians

Tags: health insurance, advocacy, aafp, congress of delegates

AAFP to lawmakers: Health insurance market consolidation hurts family physicians

Consolidation of the nation’s health insurance industry hurts health care quality and threatens patients’ access to care, AAFP President Jim King, M.D., of Selmer, Tenn., told federal lawmakers at an Oct. 25 hearing. King explained to members of the House Committee on Small Business how insurer consolidation has a negative impact on family physicians, their practices and their patients.

“In the U.S., only two insurance companies cover one-third of all insured Americans,” he said at the hearing and AAFP reported in News Now. “This type of market dominance eliminates competition, giving insurance companies the power to ‘carry out near-monopolistic insurer behaviors’ that threaten quality improvements in the U.S. health care system.”

Four other speakers appeared with King, representing the American Medical Association, the National Association for the Self-Employed, Consumers for Health Care Choices and Victory Wholesale Growers.

AAFP’s actions come in part from a resolution TAFP proposed to the AAFP Congress of Delegates at the October assembly in Chicago. After hearing testimony from several state academies, including Texas, the Congress of Delegates resolved to continue working with the AMA and other medical specialty societies to publicize the results of a previous AMA market survey. Their intent is to encourage key players in the government—the executive branch, Congress, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice—to conduct a study on the effect of consolidation in the health insurance market on patients’ access to care.