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.”