President Obama Receives Warm Welcome from AMA Physicians
President Obama calls for health reform, asks for doctors' help
For immediate release
June 15, 2009
CHICAGO, IL – The American Medical Association warmly welcomed U.S. President Barack Obama to its 158th annual meeting in Chicago. Like the president, the AMA is committed to health reform this year that provides all Americans with affordable, high-quality health coverage.
"We have a historic opportunity for reform this year, and the AMA is actively working for health reform that covers the uninsured, makes insurance more affordable, increases the value our nation receives from its health care spending and enhances prevention and wellness for patients," said Dr. Nielsen.
"Our message to the president and the American public is that the AMA is committed to achieving reform this year so that all Americans have affordable, high-quality health coverage," said AMA President Nancy H. Nielsen, MD.
Highlighting physicians' commitment to their patients, President Obama said to a standing ovation that "you did not enter this profession to be bean-counters and paper-pushers. You entered this profession to be healers – and that's what our health care system should let you be."
"The relationship between a patient and physician is the heart of health care, and we support reforms that preserve that relationship and keep medical decisions in the hands of patients and physicians," said Dr. Nielsen.
President Obama also recognized that it "will be hard to make some of these changes if doctors feel like they are constantly looking over their shoulder for fear of lawsuits." He also acknowledged the cost of defensive medicine in the health system.
"We are very pleased that President Obama has expressed an openness to medical liability reform as part of comprehensive health reform," said Dr. Nielsen. "Liability reform is clearly needed to help doctors implement best-practices in patient care and reduce unnecessary health costs."
President Obama said "I need your help, doctors. To most Americans, you are the health care system." He also told physicians that "I will listen to you and work with you to pursue reform that works for you."
AMA Media Relations
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