In response, ACEP has engaged in a multipronged advocacy strategy, employing a range of tactics and building partnerships with key allies along the way. ACEP has worked closely with chapters in the affected states that have been able to very effectively leverage their local ties with policymakers, coalition partners, and the media. State legislation that includes provisions to counter Anthem’s strategy has been introduced in Georgia, Missouri, and Ohio.
In Washington, D.C., ACEP has repeatedly met with key congressional offices for each of the six states to inform them of the policy and provide educational materials to counter Anthem’s claims; chapters are working similarly in the district offices for these members of Congress. As a result, in late December, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) sent Anthem a letter requesting the insurer provide her office with all internal documents and emails leading to the policy’s implementation. Noting that “patients are not physicians,” the letter reiterated the prudent layperson standard and requested that Anthem explain how the emergency denials policy is not in violation of it. In addition, the senator has asked for communications including discussions about the potential cost savings related to this policy and any associated complaints it may have received.
ACEP also has engaged in substantial public relations efforts along with its chapters, and the resulting media coverage has been very effective in amplifying its advocacy messages and continuing to increase pressure on the insurer. Several stories have received national attention, such as a piece by the Associated Press that was syndicated and carried by more than 100 major outlets across the country, two articles in Modern Healthcare, and most recently a feature on Vox.com that brought even more attention to the issue and offers of help from additional congressional offices. ACEP’s parody video on the issue also provided an additional opportunity to raise national awareness.