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Health Care Reform

September 16, 2013

The health care debate, where do doctors stand?


Statement of the American Medical Association to the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee United States House of Representatives Re: Urgent Need for Enacting Health System Reform September 15, 2009.


"With millions of Americans uninsured and millions more afraid of losing their health insurance,
the status quo is unacceptable. The AMA is committed to working with Congress, the
Administration, and other stakeholders to achieve enactment of health system reforms this year
that include the following seven critical elements:
• Provide affordable health insurance coverage for all Americans
• Enact insurance market reforms that expand choice of affordable coverage and eliminate
pre-existing conditions
• Assure that health care decisions are made by patients and their physicians, not by
insurance companies or government officials
• Provide investments and create incentives for quality improvement and prevention and
wellness initiatives
• Repeal the Medicare physician payment formula that will trigger steep cuts and threaten
seniors’ access to care
• Implement medical liability reforms to reduce the cost of defensive medicine
• Streamline and standardize insurance claims processing requirements to eliminate unnecessary costs and administrative burdens."

A survey of physicians published in the New England Journal of Medicine had the following results:

Image Source, New England Journal of Medicine: http://healthcarereform.nejm.org/?p=1790&query=home

The debate has created some strange myths.

The American Diabetes Association published the following:

"Separating Myth from Fact: The Truth about Diabetes and Health Care Reform

The American Diabetes Association recognizes there is a lot of information and opinions on health care reform. There are also a number of myths that need to be addressed and understood so that everyone can move on to the most important issue of expanding access to quality, affordable health care for people with diabetes. Some of the top myths are discussed below.

MYTH: Health care reform will lead to negative changes in diabetes coverage and care.

FACT: Health care reform will protect people with diabetes by requiring all health insurance companies to accept all applicants for health coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions. Under health care reform, if you are happy with your current health care team and wish to keep your health insurance plan, you can do so. Otherwise, you can purchase health insurance in the individual market without fear of being denied coverage due to your diabetes.

MYTH: Health care reform aims to ration access to health care, including diabetes services and supplies and care for Medicare seniors.

FACT: Health care reform will not lead to rationing access to health care including diabetes services and supplies. Currently the U.S. spends the largest amount (and highest percentage of GDP) on health care in the world, yet we have some of the worst health outcomes. Health care reform does not aim to cut health care costs by rationing care, rather health care reform focuses on ensuring that the money we do spend on health care goes to high quality and appropriate care. Health care reform attempts to redirect spending to high quality care and reducing unnecessary, poor quality expensive sick care.

Health care reform will protect Medicare patients' access to their health care providers and reduce the costs of preventive care to help seniors live healthy lives. Health care reform will not cut Medicare benefits, reduce access to Medicare services or give the government the power to make treatment decisions for anyone regardless of age.

MYTH: Health care reform will lead to government-run health care and enable the government to decide which treatments people with diabetes receive.

FACT: Under health care reform, neither the government nor a government committee will be responsible for determining which health care treatments people receive from their health care providers. Decisions on how to treat and manage one's diabetes will still be made by the person with diabetes and his/her health care providers. Under health care reform, the government will work to ensure that information about the quality and effectiveness of treatment and care options are readily available and properly disseminated to health care providers and patients.

MYTH: Health care reform will make health insurance more expensive, especially for people with diabetes.

FACT: By prohibiting the current health insurance practice of charging higher premiums to people with diabetes and other health conditions, health care reform will actually help make health insurance more affordable for people with diabetes. Health insurers will no longer be able to charge individuals higher premiums based on health status, race or gender; nor would be they be able to target people with illnesses or their employers for premium increases based on health status. Health care reform will also limit annual out-of-pocket costs for covered benefits, with currently proposed limits of to $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family.

MYTH: Health care reform won't benefit people like me who already have health insurance.

FACT: Health care reform will reduce swelling health care costs for all Americans, improve the quality of care all patients particularly people with diabetes receive by rewarding better care, prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, limit the out-of-pocket spending on health care for individuals and families so that they do not go bankrupt trying to pay for necessary medical care, and provide consumers with more choice in health insurance coverage."

Source: American Diabetes Association http://main.diabetes.org/site/PageServer?pagename=diabetes_health_reform_myths_and_facts

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