HEALTH REFORM: AMA President Calls For Immediate Action
American Medical Association President Nancy Dickey yesterday condemned the nation's health care system as "a mess" and demanded that efforts at reform be made "the top priority in Congress." Despite recent media and political attention, Dickey noted, the number of uninsured Americans has climbed from 32 million to 44 million in the last decade, and the quality of care is under serious threat from pressures to cut costs. Dickey outlined a number of priorities for the 106th Congress, in particular a patients' bill of rights. "We need one as soon as they reconvene this Congress," she said. As for the poor, Dickey recommended cuts in Medicaid red tape to remove barriers to access.
Right To Choose
Reuters/Boston Globe notes that the AMA's reform plan would retain some aspects of the employer-based system that currently covers 64% of those with health insurance. A key difference: "rather than employers choosing and negotiating for a health care plan, employees would get the money employers would have spent on them and choose their own plans" (12/17).