AMA: HISTORIC HOUSE PASSAGE OF HEALTH SYSTEM REFORM IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD

March 21, 2010

Statement attributable to: J. James Rohack, M.D., AMA 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.  

"By extending health coverage to tens of millions of uninsured, improving competition and choice in the insurance marketplace, promoting prevention and wellness, reducing administrative burdens, and promoting clinical comparative effectiveness research, this bill will help patients and the physicians who care for them. There are increased payments for primary care physicians caring for Medicaid patients and bonus payments for physicians in underserved areas. Those who have insurance will see improvements right away: lifetime caps on coverage end; children can stay on parents' policies until age 26, and insurance companies can't cancel coverage except in the case of fraud.  

"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 that we outlined in a letter to Congress."  

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