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Nation’s Leading Physician Groups Join Together to Announce Principles for Reforming the U.S. Health Care System

Washington, DC –Ten of the nation’s leading physician associations speak with one voice to release principles to reform the U.S. health care system. This unity among physician groups is intended to help provide the impetus for bipartisan Congressional action to cover the uninsured. Recognizing that many newly elected Members of Congress campaigned on fixing the heath care system, the Principles serve as a guide for Congress to improve both individual health and the collective health care system in the U.S.

The Principles For Reform of the U.S. Health Care System released today call for the following actions:

  1. Health care coverage for all is needed to ensure quality of care and to improve the health status of Americans.

  2. The health care system in the U.S. must provide appropriate health care to all people within the U.S. borders, without unreasonable financial barriers to care.

  3. Individuals and families must have catastrophic health coverage to provide protection from financial ruin.

  4. Improvement of health care quality and safety must be the goal of all health interventions, so that we can assure optimal outcomes for the resources expended.

  5. In reforming the health care system, we as a society must respect the ethical imperative of providing health care to individuals, responsible stewardship of community resources, and the importance of personal health responsibility.

  6. Access to and financing for appropriate health services must be a shared public/private cooperative effort, and a system which will allow individuals/employers to purchase additional services or insurance.

  7. Cost management by all stakeholders, consistent with achieving quality health care, is critical to attaining a workable, affordable and sustainable health care system.

  8. Less complicated administrative systems are essential to reduce costs, create a more efficient health care system, and maximize funding for health care services.

  9. Sufficient funds must be available for research (basic, clinical, translational and health services), medical education, and comprehensive health information technology infrastructure and implementation.

  10. Sufficient funds must be available for public health and other essential medical services to include, but not be limited to, preventive services, trauma care and mental health services.

  11. Comprehensive medical liability reform is essential to ensure access to quality health care.

“Doctors want Congress to take action on health system reform this year,” said Rick Kellerman, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a practicing family physician in Wichita, Kansas. “Physicians are coming together to support these principles because they want the best care for their patients and if these principles are adopted, patients will be the main beneficiaries.”

“As orthopaedic surgeons, we see the successes – but also the dilemmas, strains and unmet needs – in American healthcare on a daily basis,” said Richard F. Kyle, MD, president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and a practicing physician in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons strongly supports the Principles for Reform of the U.S. Health Care System for its multi-faceted approach to significant lapses of access and funding. We recognize the strong clinical, educational and research foundation on which to base the prescribed improvements. These principles reflect the mandate we feel as physicians, and we are committed to making certain that all Americans enjoy the healthcare they deserve, no matter their economic resources.”

“All patients deserve access to quality care, and national efforts to address health care quality must proceed in parallel to efforts to expand coverage and access,” said Steven E. Nissen, M.D., F.A.C.C., president of the American College of Cardiology (ACC). “We have an obligation to improve health care by delivering appropriate and quality medical services using evidence based medicine. The ACC is committed to this fundamental principal and, in turn, ensuring that all employers, individuals and families have access to affordable health coverage."

"Emergency physicians serve as the safety net for America's troubled medical care system, and we see firsthand how the lack of health insurance coverage affects everyone, not just the uninsured" said Brian Keaton, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. "In June, the Institute of Medicine issued reports on the future of emergency care and found a fragmented system, unable to respond to disasters. The causes included the lack of health insurance for 46 million Americans as well as the medical liability crisis. The need for change is urgent, which is why the American College of Emergency Physicians strongly supports the Principles for Reform of the U.S. Health Care System."

“Nearly 13 million reproductive-age women, and 13% of all pregnant women, in the US are without health insurance, which prevents them from receiving critical preventive care and screening tests," said Douglas W. Laube, MD, MEd, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). "ACOG believes that providing pregnant women and infants with full insurance coverage and access to care is an important step in providing health care for all Americans."

“As osteopathic family physicians, we believe that every American should have appropriate health care, and these principles certainly support that goal,” said Thomas N. Told, DO, FACOFP dist., president of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians. “It is our duty to make sure only the highest quality of care is being delivered in the health care marketplace, and we hope to work with Congress this year on making these principles a reality.”

"The American College of Physicians believes that immediate steps must be taken to expand health insurance coverage, with the goal of providing coverage to all Americans. Proposals to expand health insurance coverage should also assure that patients have access to a core set of benefits,” said Lynne M. Kirk, MD, FACP, president of the American College of Physicians.

“These principles are consistent with the position of the American College of Surgeons that all parties concerned – physicians, other health care providers, payers, and patients – must share responsibility for the appropriate provision and financing of quality health care,” said Thomas R. Russell, MD, FACS, executive director of the American College of Surgeons. “The American College of Surgeons sincerely supports these principles and the future efforts of the coalition to provide Congress with viable options for providing all Americans with quality health care.”

"Providing health care coverage to the uninsured is a top priority of the American Medical Association, and we are proud to join together with other physician organizations to present a cohesive set of principles to guide reform of the U.S. health care system," said Jeremy Lazarus, MD, board member of the American Medical Association.

"Congress must address the growing problems facing the nation's health care system," said John A. Strosnider, DO, president of the American Osteopathic Association. "We are pleased to join with our physician colleagues in putting forth these principles for health system reform. We believe that they provide the framework for all stakeholders- patients, physicians, payers, employers, and the federal government-to come together to improve the health care system."

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