March 23, 2010
Statement attributable to: J. James Rohack, M.D., AMA President
"The president's signature on historic health reform legislation today is a monumental moment in the health of our nation. While more still needs to be done, this bill makes real progress toward providing coverage to all Americans and improving our nation's health care system.
"Physicians see firsthand the pain and heartbreak that being uninsured causes in the lives of America's patients. Today, we move forward to start to ease that pain.
"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 and changes to the Independent Payment Advisory Board. We will be relentless in our pursuit for medical liability reform and other important actions that we outlined in a recent letter to Congress.
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