Over 100 Health Care Leaders join thousands of patients and physicians to demand health care law stays
Washington, D.C. — Today physicians released a letter from more than 100 of the nation’s health care leaders demanding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. These leaders include CEOs of hospitals, heads of national medical organizations, and deans of medical and public health schools. They are joined by more than 10,000 physicians and patients who have signed the declaration as well.
The health care leaders expressed concern that the health care debate has become more about politics and less about patients. The declaration reads:
We believe in an America where everyone has quality, affordable health care and where doctors and the public work together to build a health care system that works for all. We took a critical first step toward this vision when we passed the Affordable Care Act, a law supported by the largest physician organizations in the country. We must now ensure the Affordable Care Act is implemented so millions of Americans can realize the full promise of the law.
“Thousands upon thousands of patients over the years have struggled to get the care they need,” said Donald Berwick, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services, former CEO and president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and signatory on the letter. “Now, thanks to the health reform law, they are finally starting to get help.”
Lori Heim, former president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, noted:
We have forgotten why we embarked on this effort: it was to fix a system that is too expensive and doesn’t deliver consistent, high quality care to patients. The Affordable Care Act moves us closer to addressing these issues and to step away from health reform would be a mistake for patients and the country.
Some of the facts the doctors want the public to know about the Affordable Care Act are:
- It helps seniors get better care. The law has already expanded access to preventive care and wellness visits and saved seniors millions of dollars on prescription drugs.
- It helps people afford their insurance. More than 12 million people have received insurance rebates—$1 billion that would otherwise have been kept by insurance companies as profit. And new rules make it harder for insurance companies to raise premiums more than 10 percent per year.
- It makes sure people can get care when they need it—by banning discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and gender and preventing insurance companies from imposing a lifetime limit on coverage.
Gil Omenn, former CEO of the University of Michigan Hospital System, expressed concern about the rampant public misinformation. ”Despite a lot of wild political rhetoric, the Affordable Care Act has many major features critical for tens of millions of Americans and for improving the value of healthcare spending in our country.”
Cedric Bright, former president of the National Medical Association and internal medicine physician in North Carolina, concurred. “As a doctor, I feel responsible for making sure my community and my colleagues know the facts about health reform. It’s important that all of us are informed.”
The effort is being organized by Doctors for America, a nonpartisan national movement of doctors and medical students in all 50 states who came together four years ago to push for changes that would improve access to affordable, high-quality health care for everyone.
Doctors in the organization have educated the public and collected stories about the Affordable Care Act at hundreds of events in 2012—community presentations, health fairs, hospital lectures, senior centers, and on the historic Patients Over Politics Bus Tour from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. The declaration of support and list of health care leaders can be found at www.patientsoverpolitics.