American Public Health Association
800 I Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001-3710
(202) 777-APHA • Fax: (202) 777-2534 •

For Immediate Release
For more information, please contact APHA Communications at 202-777-2509 or email us .

APHA Urges Leaders to Move Forward on Health Reform

Washington, D.C., February 25, 2010 —As President Obama and congressional leaders meet today for a health reform summit, the American Public Health Association urges them to move forward on comprehensive, affordable health reform with a focus on prevention and wellness.


“We applaud leaders of both parties for meeting today and urge them to find common ground to reform our nation’s health system,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA. “This should not be a political exercise. They should lay their swords at the door and forge a path forward to address a serious, growing problem facing the American people and representing 17 percent of our nation’s economy.”


According to APHA, a lot is at stake.

  • Forty-seven million people don’t have health insurance, leading to more than 44,000 excess deaths each year;
  • One hundred thousand additional deaths are caused annually by medical errors;
  • Our health system fails to adequately invest in prevention, wellness and public health, leading to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths every year, and rewards health providers for volume not quality;
  • Spiraling health care costs are forcing many people to choose between health care and other necessities, and contributed to more than half of the 1.5 million bankruptcies last year; and
  • Our nation’s insurance business model often denies health coverage and care when patients need it most.


“The president’s legislative proposal, while not perfect, goes a long way to address these problems,” said Benjamin. “It can still be improved, but our nation’s leaders must wrestle with these hard issues and put the American people before politics. Health reform must move forward, and it must move forward now.”

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at