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Reaction to Health Reform Bill

Reactions to the passage of health care reform:

American Medical Association:  Dr. J. James Rohack, president

“Historic passage of health system reform by the U.S. House of Representatives today is an important step toward providing coverage to all Americans and improving our nation’s health system. Every day physicians see the devastating effect being uninsured has on the health of our patients. Physicians dedicate their lives to helping patients, and we have an historic opportunity now to do just that. While the House-passed bill isn’t perfect, we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good when it comes to something as important as the health of Americans.

“We will remain actively engaged to ensure that before Congress adjourns there are additional important changes to our health system that couldn’t be addressed in the reconciliation process, including repeal of the Medicare physician payment formula that threatens access to care for seniors and military families. Congress must also move immediately to correct problems with the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The current IPAB framework could result in misguided payment cuts that undermine access to care and destabilize health care delivery. We will be relentless in our pursuit of permanent repeal of the Medicare physician payment formula, corrections to IPAB, medical liability reform and other important actions.”

American Academy of Family Physicians:  Dr. Lori Heim, president

“Although this bill is not perfect, the AAFP consistently supported efforts to provide health insurance with a minimum package of benefits for all Americans; to deliver high quality, comprehensive, and preventive care in a patient-centered medical home; and to ensure people can see their personal physician when they need care. We’ve also supported changing the system to one built on primary care.

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act addresses many of these issues. As a result of today’s vote, Americans can look forward to health security because they soon will have the chance to buy health insurance that meets their needs without emptying their bank accounts. It opens the door to a reformed health delivery system by paying a bonus for primary care services, which sends a message acknowledging the value of primary care physicians.”

Physicians for a National Health Program:

“As much as we would like to join the celebration of the House’s passage of the health bill last night, in good conscience we cannot. We take no comfort in seeing aspirin dispensed for the treatment of cancer.Instead of eliminating the root of the problem – the profit-driven, private health insurance industry – this costly new legislation will enrich and further entrench these firms. The bill would require millions of Americans to buy private insurers’ defective products, and turn over to them vast amounts of public money.

This bill’s passage reflects political considerations, not sound health policy. As physicians, we cannot accept this inversion of priorities. We seek evidence-based remedies that will truly help our patients, not placebos. A genuine remedy is in plain sight. Sooner rather than later, our nation will have to adopt a single-payer national health insurance program, an improved Medicare for all. Only a single-payer plan can assure truly universal, comprehensive and affordable care to all.”

Texas Medical Association: Dr. William Fleming, president

“We are disappointed and saddened that Congress and President Obama would pass a half-baked Senate proposal and call it ‘Health System Reform.’ The bill is simply bad medicine for patients and the state of Texas.

“Make no mistake – Texas physicians support health system reform – reform that truly puts our patients first. We’ve told Congress for the past year, to ‘keep what’s good and fix only what’s wrong’ in our health care system. Today, Congress did the opposite. It passed a bill that does nothing to fix glaring problems in our current health care system. Instead, it saddles Texans with higher costs, higher taxes, more red tape and more bureaucracy.

“We believe the bill’s unaffordable health system reforms, piled on top of a crumbling Medicare foundation, will create even more dire consequences for all. We now urge Congress to take swift action to stop the implosion of our Medicare system.”

Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA)

“Nothing is more intimate or important than our health and the care we receive from our doctors. This reform will cut out the insurance bureaucrats and put life-and-death decisions back where they belong: in the hands of families and doctors. No longer will insurance companies be able to turn record profits by denying care to those who need it most, cutting your coverage the moment you get sick, or hiking your premiums year after year.

“If we had followed the Republican plan of inaction, in 30 years health care costs would have swallowed up a third our economy, driven small companies out of business, and bankrupted untold numbers of American families. By taking on one of the biggest challenges facing our nation, we’re going to cut more than $130 billion from the deficit this decade, and another $1.2 trillion the next. And no longer will you have to pay for the uninsured out of your own pocket. This is a first, major step in tackling the deficit and creating a healthy country and a healthy economy.”

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