AMA: Urges Candidates to Address Health Issues
The AMA Wednesday urged the presidential candidates to openly discuss various health care policy issues, arguing that the "time is now" for genuine reform, Reuters/Boston Globe reports. AMA President Dr. Thomas Reardon said, "If you look at the polls, the number one issue ... is health care" (Fox, 12/16). Rolling out a list of six policy questions, the AMA said that voters should ask candidates whether they:
- Support a patients' bill of rights;
- Believe doctors and not insurers, should make decisions about coverage;
- Think HMOs should be held accountable for treatment decisions that harm patients;
- Support health insurance for all Americans;
- Have a plan to overhaul Medicare (Mitchell, CongressDaily, 12/15).
Universal Health Care Coverage?
One of the questions the AMA is pushing voters to ask candidates is if they "support health coverage for all Americans" (AMA release, 12/15). Dr. Nancy Dickey, a former AMA president, said that universal health care coverage would, in the long run, save tax dollars. The uninsured often do not seek care until their condition is critical, therefore, she argued, the end result is expensive catastrophic coverage in the emergency room. "Every American pays for that care. We pay for it through higher taxes and insurance premiums," Dickey said (Fox, 12/16). Moreover, Reardon believes voters should ask candidates if the lack of coverage for so many Americans, almost 45 million -- including 11 million children -- is "good medicine" (AMA release, 12/15). The group will not endorse any specific candidate and will not address the issue of a prescription drug benefit to the basic Medicare package (Mitchell, 12/15).