Doctors’ Group calls for Health Care Reform Pledges from Candidates
Roughly a week before SuperTuesday, the American College of Physicians (ACP) made a public statement endorsing universal insurance coverage, and asking all of this year’s political candidates in both the Presidential and Congressional races to pursue guaranteed access to health care.
In their statement, the ACP representatives referred to the U.S. health care system as “failing,” echoing the sentiments of the American people, who list health care reform as one of their top concerns in the presidential primaries, according to polls by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Commonwealth Fund.
Past efforts to push for reform have almost always been stifled by other doctor’s groups. Bob Doherty, the chief lobbyist for ACP told reporters “We’ve tried and failed [in] every administration since Truman.” He also cited rising health care costs as a major impetus for politicians to really pay attention right now, and pointed out that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 47 million Americans lacked health insurance in 2005. “A new president and Congress may have no choice” but to back reforms, Doherty added.
The ACP asked the candidates to make a pledge of support for the following efforts:
- Guaranteed affordable health coverage regardless of place of employment or residence within the United States, and without regard to income.
- A primary care physician for every person.
- A reduction of administrative expenses and a curb on malpractice lawsuits.
- Increased investment in HIT (health information technologies), including electronic medical records.
- More funding for research.
David Dale, MD, the president of the ACP, and a professor of internal medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle said,”We’re last among the industrialized countries of the world in terms of providing access to health care.”
The ACP is comprised of doctors who are internists and primary care physicians. They would not endorse a specific candidate or party.