Hospital Group To Weigh In on Presidential Health Debate
American Hospital Association President and CEO Richard Umbdenstock on Monday in a speech to the Akron Regional Hospital Association and the Greater Akron Chamber said that the group will participate in the health care debate during the 2008 presidential campaign, the Akron Beacon Journal reports.
AHA has sought opinions on proposals to address the issue of the uninsured and improve health care quality, Umbdenstock said.
According to Umbdenstock, AHA supports proposals to expand health insurance to all U.S. residents and to mandate that health insurers cannot deny applicants because of pre-existing medical conditions. However, Umbdenstock "stayed away from discussing the concept of government-run universal health care" to avoid "alienating a certain segment of people from taking part in the AHA discussion," the Beacon Journal reports. He said, "What we're looking for are the best ideas, not turf battles."
In addition, he said that the health care debate should include proposals to increase focus on preventive care, possibly through reduced premiums or guaranteed access to certain forms of care (Wheeler, Akron Beacon Journal, 10/2).
Meanwhile, former presidential candidate and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) on Monday in a speech in Boston challenged Democrats to undertake a "bold new age in progressive politics" and expand health insurance to all residents, the AP/Boston Herald reports.
He said that inefficiencies in the health care system have made the U.S. less competitive and have forced companies to eliminate or reduce health benefits for employees. According to Kerry, the health care system offers "more and more middle-class Americans the equally lousy choice of clawing to hold onto inadequate insurance coverage at skyrocketing prices, or simply praying for good health."
Kerry also criticized presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) for his shift in support from the state health insurance law that he helped enact "so fast he's going to need a good health care plan to treat him for whiplash" (AP/Boston Herald, 10/2).