11 Health Leaders React to House Passing Health Reform
"But throughout this long process, we have been guided by a belief that all Americans should have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare coverage and services. This legislation, while not perfect, is a step in that direction.
"Even as we support healthcare reform legislation, we continue to have concerns about a number of issues including the overly broad powers of a non-elected Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which could enact sweeping Medicare changes without action by Congress and would not be subject to judicial or administrative review. We look forward to working with Congress to address these concerns and to identify ways to contain medical costs without creating new barriers to quality healthcare.
"Most importantly, we must also take steps in the years ahead to support critically needed innovation, ensuring future medical advancements and breakthroughs.
"Americans deserve no less. New, cutting-edge medicines have dramatically increased life expectancy rates all across our nation and allowed patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives. We remain totally committed to seeing this progress continue, benefiting Americans for generations to come."
Thomas C. Bent, MD
California Association of Family Physicians
"This historic legislation will save patient lives. One of every four Californians—8.2 million people—has no health insurance. Eight people die every day in our state because they have no coverage and can't afford healthcare. Today marks the beginning of the end of such inhumane conditions.
"Family physicians, as patient advocates, are pleased with many provisions in the Senate and House bills, including those that will provide healthcare coverage to tens of millions of uninsured, improve the quality of care in America, and ban insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions. This is a great first step in reforming a healthcare system in which too many people fall through the cracks and too few can afford care.
"One of the most important changes is the bills' emphasis on the patient-centered medical home, a new model of healthcare delivery. The medical home model addresses the importance of primary and preventive care in keeping patients as healthy as possible while keeping healthcare costs as low as possible. It's the future of American healthcare.
"By ensuring every patient has an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician, we can focus on prevention and chronic disease management instead of waiting until illnesses become crises."
C. Duane Dauner
President and CEO
California Hospital Association
"California's hospitals have advocated for meaningful healthcare reform for more than two decades. The legislation enacted tonight will increase coverage for an estimated 32 million Americans.
"This is a significant step forward. A major portion of the savings in the package, however, is based on future payment cuts to hospitals and other providers.
"The impact of these cuts is not yet fully understood, but it will undoubtedly worsen the already precarious financial situation hospitals face. In 2009, California hospitals had more than $8 billion in losses from the Medicare and Medi-Cal programs. During the next few years, CHA will strive to make improvements to the financial impacts of this legislation."
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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