“Reform can’t wait. We care and we know reform saves lives.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, on the heels of a historic vote on health care reform, physicians, nurses, medical students, other health professionals, and reform activists from across the country marched to Capitol Hill to praise reform efforts for our nation’s broken health care system. A total of 19 health provider groups sent representatives of their membership to send a clear message – reform can’t wait.
The event began with a kickoff and rally in Freedom Plaza near the White House, continued with a white coat and scrubs march down Pennsylvania Avenue, and concluded with a press conference with influential supporters of reform including Senator Jeff Bingaman and Representative Jim McDermott.
Wearing hospital bracelets to express solidarity with patients that they know who are struggling with the skyrocketing costs, lack of access, and unfairness of the health care system, the doctors and nurses gave their prescription for the Senate to follow the House and finish reform.
“Doctors and nurses are used to making dozens of tough decisions each and every day,” said Dr. L. Toni Lewis, president of the Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU Healthcare. “The choices we make in our hospitals, in our clinics, and in our emergency rooms may be a matter of life and death for our patients. By contrast, the vote on whether to give access to quality health care to an additional 32 million Americans, rein in the abuses of the insurance industry, invest in primary care, prevention and wellness, and do all this while reducing the deficit $138 billion shouldn’t be a tough decision at all. It’s time for the Senate to follow the House and pass real health reform.”
“Every face here today represents thousands of health providers who are caring for patients today and advocating for reform that can not wait another day. Our patients, our colleagues, and all Americans deserve better. We are asking Congress to finish the job of passing reform and remain committed to the changes our country desperately needs to put affordable health care within reach for millions of Americans,” said Dr. Mandy Krauthamer Cohen, Executive Director of Doctors for America.
“At this critical time in the history of the delivery of patient care and the possibility of real health care reform, now more than ever we need to protect and enhance our public health system. We need our elected leaders to step up and pass real health care reform now that will cover the millions of uninsured patients and that will cover pre-existing conditions. Our patients and public safety-net hospitals and facilities deserve no less,” said Dr. Barry Liebowitz, President of Doctors Council SEIU.
"For over 95 years, the American Medical Women's Association has walked the line for US patients and women providers in our role as the progressive ‘Vision and Voice of Women in Medicine.’ Since 1990, we have walked the talk on healthcare reform as one of the first US medical associations to advocate for universal access. And, on March 22 2010, we marched to demand the right to quality healthcare services. We invite other women healthcare providers from across the nation to take off their white gloves, put on their white coats, and join us in supporting healthcare for all Americans now!" said Dr. Claudia S. Morrissey, Immediate Past President, American Medical Women's Association.
“As frontline doctors, family physicians see the hardship that out current health care system imposes on people,” said Dr. Lori Heim, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “Whether they are insured or not, Americans struggle with rising costs, greater out-of-pocket expenses, and dwindling health care security. That’s because our system pays for sickness, not for health. We need health care reform now that focuses on health care, that pays for the quality—not the quantity—of care, and that ensures all Americans can see their personal physicians when they need preventive care, diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, and overall management of chronic conditions.”
“ACU joined clinicians and community advocates in the March for Healthcare Reform to show our support for passing historic yet necessary legislation. We urge Congress and President Obama to ensure health care reform is signed into law in order to make our communities healthier and stronger,” said Dr. Peter Sherman , President of Association of Clinicians for the Underserved.
“The Student National Medical Association is committed to ensuring health care reform that provides access to quality care for the uninsured, marginalized, and minority community and makes provisions for a larger, more diverse physician workforce. Disparities in the availability and quality of treatment ultimately affect the health of all Americans, where exacerbated primary care concerns become chronic or fatal diseases or unequal usage of resources leads to more dollars spent for treatment. As future physicians, we are vested in reforming the current system, to make health equity a reality,” said Travelle Franklin Ford, National President of the Student National Medical Association.
"As an operating room nurse responsible for patients at the most critical hours in their lives, I know how important it is for me to be in the right place at the right time with the right knowledge. That's why I traveled here from California - this is a critical hour for my patients. They need me to stand up for a health reform bill that will expand care to those who need it most, hold insurance companies accountable, and deliver real relief to working families," said nurse Gayle Batiste President of SEIU Local 121RN
"At this historic moment, the National Physicians Alliance is proud to join with so many of our colleagues to march for our patients and their families. We heartily congratulate the House of Representatives for doing the right thing for the American people. We urge the Senate to join with the House and take a stand for health care as a basic human right by supporting passage of meaningful health reform. Today, the future looks brighter for our patients and all Americans should feel proud," said Dr. Valerie Arkoosh,
President of the National Physicians Alliance.
Participating groups include: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians,
American College of Physicians, American Medical Student Association, American Medical Women's Association, American Muslim Health Professionals, Association of Clinicians for the Underserved,
Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU Healthcare, Doctors Council SEIU, Doctors for America, , Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America, HIV Medicine Association, National Medical Association, National Physicians Alliance, National Physicians Alliance – New York, National Doctors Alliance/SEIU Healthcare, Nurse Alliance/SEIU Healthcare, Student National Medical Association, United Nurses of America-AFSCME.