Who Are They Listening To?

Last week the New England Journal of Medicine published a poll that showed 63 percent of doctors support giving people the choice of a public health insurance option. This morning, groups representing 500,000 doctors took out an ad urging Congress to support comprehensive reform.

From the press release,

Today doctors’ groups representing more than 500,000 physicians nationwide announced they have come together in a new effort urging Congress to pass comprehensive health care reform. In the unprecedented joint endeavor, an array of prominent doctors’ organizations has signed on to a print ad that will run in Roll Call’s print and online editions this week.

The ad, unveiled today at a press conference in Washington, emphasizes that real health care reform is urgently needed so that doctors can better care for their patients.

“The status quo is unacceptable,” said J. James Rohack, M.D., President of the American Medical Association, one of the groups sponsoring the ad. “America has the best health care in the world, but it’s out of reach for too many people because they lack health insurance. Physicians are joining together to encourage Congress to seize this year’s opportunity to make real improvements to the health system for patients and physicians.”

“If health reform fails, the result will be more uninsured patients, more families going bankrupt because of high health care bills, more cherry-picking, more Medicare insolvency, and continuation of a payment system that undervalues the care provided by internists, leading many young physicians to choose other fields,” said Joseph W. Stubbs, MD, FACP, and President of the American College of Physicians. “This is not a future I want for my patients or our noble profession.”

“As a physician on the front lines of health care, I know that the system is broken, and if we do nothing, it will get worse. That’s why Doctors for America members across the country are standing up to support health care reform. We will continue to work with Congress, the President, and our communities to make sure we achieve effective reform this year,” said Dr. Mandy Krauthamer, Executive Director of Doctors for America.

A copy of the ad can be seen at http://www.doctors-support-reform.org.

The majority of the public , the majority of doctors, and 220 members in the House and 50 in the Senate support a public health insurance plan. In addition, four of the five committees with jurisdiction have already passed bills that include a public health insurance option.

But, we continue to hear from Senators on the Finance Committee that there aren’t the votes to pass a bill with a public health insurance option, and that they just haven’t heard enough support for the public health insurance option.

All of this makes me wonder, who are these Senators listening to? (Hint: they have given over $10 million to members of Congress since January)

Answer: The health insurance and HMO industries

It should come as no surprise that when the Baucus bill was released, health insurance stocks rallied. As is, the Baucus bill does not have the votes to pass out of committee. Hopefully, we will see some good amendment passed, but even after it is amended we should recognize that this bill is still the Big Insurance bill.

The final bill that hits the president’s desk needs to be one written to fix our health care crisis, not one written to please the insurance industry.

If the insurance companies win, you lose.

Tomorrow, September 22, hundreds of demonstrations are going to take place around the country to protest the insurance industry’s rampant abuses and to let our elected officials know that they are either with us or with the insurance companies.

You can find an event near you here.

UPDATE: Demand your insurance company stop standing between you and your doctor, stop denying care, stop terminating policies for financial gain, and stop spending your premium dollars lobbying against health care reform and a public health insurance option.

Click here to fax your insurance company and the Senate Finance Committee, who is starting debate their health care bill today, with these demands, so everyone knows what’s at stake.

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