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AMA Supports House Passage of Health System Reform

Will work with Congress and the administration to make critical changes that cannot be addressed through the reconciliation process

For immediate release:
March 19, 2010

Washington, D.C. – After careful review and consideration, the American Medical Association (AMA) today announced its qualified support for the current health reform bill as a step toward providing coverage to all Americans and improving our nation’s health system.

"The pending bill is imperfect, but we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good when it comes to something as important as the health of Americans," said J. James Rohack, M.D., AMA president. “By extending health coverage to the vast majority of the uninsured, improving competition and choice in the insurance marketplace, promoting prevention and wellness, reducing administrative burdens, and promoting clinical comparative effectiveness research, this bill will help patients and their physicians.”

“While the final product is certainly not what we would have devised, we strongly support the parts of this bill that are desperately needed by millions of Americans who are struggling to get or keep health insurance coverage,” Dr. Rohack said. “We will continue to work with Congress and the administration to solve important issues that cannot be addressed through the reconciliation process.”

“This is not the last step, but the next step toward real health system reform,” Dr. Rohack said. “We will remain actively engaged with Congress and the administration to ensure that before Congress adjourns there are additional important changes to our health system. Congress must act to preserve access to care for seniors and military families by permanently repealing the Medicare physician payment formula that will cut Medicare payments by 21 percent next month. According to an AARP poll, nearly 90 percent of people age 50 and older are concerned that the Medicare physician payment cuts threaten their access to care.”

“Congress must also move immediately to correct problems with the Independent Payment Advisory Board,” Dr. Rohack said. “The current IPAB framework could result in misguided payment cuts that undermine access to care and destabilize health care delivery. The AMA will be relentless in our pursuit of permanent repeal of the Medicare physician payment formula, corrections to IPAB, and other important changes that we outlined in a letter today to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

“Every day physicians see the devastating effect that being uninsured has on the health of our patients: They live sicker and die younger,” Dr. Rohack said. “Physicians dedicate their lives to helping patients live healthier and longer, and we have an historic opportunity to do just that.”

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For more information, please contact:

Brenda L. Craine
Director, AMA Media Relations
(202) 789-7447

Katherine Hatwell
Senior Public Information Officer
(202) 789-7419

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