NCHC Writers
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The following statement was released today by Henry E. Simmons, M.D., M.P.H., President of the National Coalition on Health Care:

“While we commend both Democrats and Republicans in Congress for their increasing attention to health care, we are deeply concerned that the debate on patientsí rights taking place this week, no matter what its ultimate outcome, will not produce legislation that adequately deals with the most pressing problems in our health care system, i.e., rapidly rising costs, decreasing coverage and major problems in the quality of much of our care.

“Although the proposals being put forth address important issues, they may convey a false sense of what patientsí rights legislation alone could do.

“The most basic need of all patients is to receive affordable, high quality health care. What the public also needs ñ and deserves ñ is a full and open discussion of the major issues. Why are there 43 million people without health insurance, with more than a million being added to the uninsured each year when our country is experiencing its best economy in many decades? How do we achieve universal coverage? How do we control costs while providing quality care? Why is the quality of health care so uneven — with overuse, underuse and misuse of services and therapies ñ which experts say wastes billions of dollars, harms millions of people, and even leads to the death of over a hundred thousand every year?

“The current debate focuses too narrowly on issues that have broad, popular appeal but will not do enough to improve our overall health care system. The American public needs ñ and deservesómore.”

The non-profit, non-partisan National Coalition on Health Care is the nationís most broadly representative alliance seeking to improve Americaís health and health care system. It is comprised of nearly 90 organizations. They include large and small businesses, labor unions and consumer, religious and provider organizations. Former Presidents George Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald R. Ford serve as Honorary Co-Chairs. Former Democratic Congressman Paul Rogers of Florida and former Republican Governor of Iowa Bob Ray serve as the Coalitionís Co-Chairs.

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