AMA Backs House's Health and Medicare Reform Bills

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , November 5, 2009

The American Medical Association has endorsed a House healthcare reform (H.R. 3962), but has also called on Congress to pass a separate bill (H.R. 3961) that eliminates the sustainable growth rate formula in Medicare that will mandate a 21% cut in reimbursements this January.

"These two bills were introduced together, and they need to be passed together. Both are essential to achieving meaningful health system reform this year," AMA President J. James Rohack, MD, told reporters during a midday media teleconference.

H.R. 3962, The Affordable Health Care for America Act, is the sweeping healthcare reform bill that emerged from three separate House committees. The bill would expand healthcare insurance to more than 96% of the population, and key features include a public health insurance option made available through a health insurance exchange.

"H.R. 3962 is not the perfect bill, and we will continue to advocate for changes, but it goes a long way toward expanding access to high-quality affordable health coverage for all Americans, and it would make the system better for patients and physicians," Rohack said today. "This is not the last step but the next step toward health system reform."

Rohack says H.R. 3962 is consistent with AMA "principles of pluralism, freedom of choice, freedom of physician practice, and universal access."

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