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ACP-ASIM Pressroom

Nation's Largest Medical Societies Launch Campaign for Universal Health Coverage

June 14, 1999

Physician Groups Say All Americans Must Have Health Insurance

Washington, D.C. -- America's largest physician groups are launching a campaign to make universal health care coverage the number one priority in the 2000 presidential election, announced a group of national medical societies in Washington, DC, today.

The groups involved include the American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, and American College of Surgeons.

"We must exploit the current window of opportunity to put health care for the uninsured at the forefront of public debate," declared Whitney Addington, M.D., FACP, chair of the Physicians' Work Group on Universal Coverage Statement Subcommittee and President of the American College of Physicians - American Society of Internal Medicine. "Our goal is to have every congressional and presidential candidate promise to create or support a plan to solve the problem of the uninsured within his or her first year of taking office."

Currently, more than 43 million Americans lack health insurance, and the number is expected to grow to more than 47 million within the next five years.

In a statement released today, the group vowed to fight for three basic concepts:

  1. All Americans must have health care coverage.
  2. Health care coverage will contain a quality benefits package.
  3. Medical necessity determinations made under the benefit package should reflect generally accepted standards of medical practice, supported by outcomes-based evidence.

This morning, the statement was delivered to Congress and 2000 presidential candidates. The medical groups plan to use their organizational resources and a collective grassroots membership of more than 600,000 doctors to press political candidates on the subject of the uninsured.

"While each of our societies may support different approaches, we all seek to achieve the same objective: providing all Americans with health care coverage," says the statement. "Expanding the individual's ability to choose among several health insurance options is crucial. We support pluralism of health care delivery systems and financing mechanisms in achieving universal coverage and access to health care services."

The medical societies are promising to work both separately and collectively on the issue of access and "continue this pursuit until our goal of universal health coverage for all is achieved."

A Physicians' Work Group on Universal Coverage membership list is attached.


Jack Pope - (202) 261-4556

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