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Health Care Reform Now: Lessons to Simplify Reform Proposals Nov. 2009


Testimony before the NYS Health Committee Nov. 2007

We at ADA believe that government's obligation to defend its citizens extends to providing quality health care. The vast majority of Americans agree that health care needs radical reform. Here in New York we have won some great battles recently, including the passage
of the Health Care Reform Act of 2000. While HCRA 2000 is a step forward, it has not yet been implemented, and even when it is many New Yorkers will remain without coverage. At the national level, the Senate & House Republican leadership are proposing a plan which covers
only 48 million managed care patients. The Democrats would cover 161 million patients. We believe several other steps are necessary to insure our citizens are protected.

We endorse:

  • Universal health care. All Americans ought to be insured against injury or disease. Not only would it be right to protect all of our people, but if all Americans were able to afford quality health care, the risk of disease would go down substantially for all.

  • A single-payer health care system. Under a single-payer plan, health care costs are paid by a single, public entity based on a global budget with built-in cost control mechanisms. Such a system has been proven to radically reduce administrative costs. Privatization schemes have been shown to increase administrative costs dramatically.

  • A system which promotes preventive care. Much of the reason why health care is so expensive is because it solves problems after they are created. It is usually much more effective, as well as cost-effective, to prevent problems from occurring by timely preventive care in the form of regular medical attention.

  • Lower prescription drug costs. We believe it is inhumane of the drug companies to charge so much for drugs that are deemed required by a patient's physician. We also believe it unfair that many health plans disallow buying a generic prescription drug rather than a brand name. These costs are especially burdensome to the people who cannot afford them: the ill and the elderly.

  • Comprehensive benefits. Many health plans do not cover visual or dental costs, mental health or substance abuse costs, or preventive care or prescription drug costs. We believe that all of these services should be covered.

  •  Freedom of choice for consumers. We believe that patients ought to have the right to choose their doctors, facilities, and plans, according to what best suits them.

  • A system of rights for the patient. We have supported a "bill of rights" for patients at both the national and state level. ADA supports the right of the patient to compensation from insurance companies when they wrongly deny health care, including tests, services, and drugs, especially when that failure of payment results in hardship or injury.

We oppose:

  • Privatization. Privatization of health care has been one of the most disastrous ideas in modern American thought. The proposal to privatize Medicare would dramatically increase administrative costs to put money in the pockets of the insurance companies. Medicare works well. Why change it?

  • Continuing to fund insurance companies and drug companies at the expense of American families. The main reason why reform has been so difficult even though the majority of Americans back our position is that the drug companies and insurance companies spend millions in advertising to defend their system; millions they have extorted from the public as a result of the system. It is a vicious circle, and one we must try to break with direct action.
 
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