I had the great privilege to attend the White House Summit on Health Reform and be involved in what appears to be a major effort at true Health Care Reform.
I had the opportunity to speak with several members of Congress, including Senators Specter, Hatch, Whitehouse and Mikulski, and other attendees, including Dr. Nancy Nielsen, President of the AMA and Dr. Jeff Harris, President of the American College of Physicians. The panelists included congressional leadership and representatives from the business, health care and labor communities. The discussion included most of the major challenges in healthcare reform including troublesome coverage issues, costs problems, prevention, comparative effectiveness research, individual and employer mandates, regional differences in care, perverse incentives, inadequate workforce and public versus private options for universal coverage.
President Obama closed the Summit with his pledge to work with all of those present to achieve a sustainable reform of our Health Care System.
Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke is the mission of the American Heart Association. The current healthcare crisis in the United States – which has been exacerbated by the economic situation - threatens this mission. Individuals who lack health care coverage – and those who are underinsured – are far less likely than their insured counterparts to receive appropriate and timely medical care and as a consequence, suffer worse medical outcomes.
The American Heart Association is positioned to be a strong leader in healthcare reform as we continue to strive for meaningful, affordable healthcare coverage for all. As patient advocates and supporters of quality healthcare, we believe that effective prevention strategies and the application of evidence-based guidelines must be key elements in order to improve quality of care and reduce costs.
Our advocacy work continues to be guided by AHA’s key principles for reform:
- All residents of the United States should have meaningful, affordable and high quality health care coverage.
- Preventive benefits should be an essential component of meaningful health care coverage, and incentives should be built into the health care system to promote appropriate preventive health strategies.
- Race, gender and geographic disparities in health care must be eliminated.
- Support of biomedical and health services research should be a national priority, and inflation-adjusted funding for the National Institutes of Health must be maintained and expanded.
Moving forward, the Association will continue to work with President Obama and Congressional leadership to craft proposals that will benefit all Americans including the more than 80 million individuals who suffer from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
Timothy J. Gardner, M.D.
American Heart Association President