PRESIDENT CARTER, LEADERS CALL FOR BI-PARTISAN ACTION TO ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE
At a meeting today at the Carter Center in Atlanta, President Jimmy Carter and leaders from the National Coalition on Health Care will call upon our country’s elected officials to enact a comprehensive program that will provide universal health insurance coverage.
The number of uninsured has risen rapidly in recent years to over 44 million Americans – one in every six Americans under age 65. It is estimated that an equal number are underinsured. And the number of uninsured is growing by one million each year.
Speakers, who are leaders of America’s labor, business, health care provider, consumer and religious communities, will make the case for universal coverage from their particular perspective, pointing up the tremendous toll this terrible problem is taking on our country’s health and well-being.
“We recognize that advancing an ambitious agenda at this time will not be easy because the political dynamic for major reform is timid and stalled,” said Henry E. Simmons, M.D., president of the National Coalition on Health Care, which is sponsoring the meeting.
“Many are advancing partial reform proposals because the conventional wisdom is that this is all that is now possible. As a result, band-aids are being applied where major surgery is needed. None of the presidential candidates has as yet advanced a proposal powerful enough to deal with the problems we face. Bi-partisan action to achieve universal coverage will be needed,” Dr. Simmons added.
Following President Carter’s remarks, participants will have an opportunity to take part in a public forum during which there will be an exchange of views between them and the speakers on the many issues raised in the meeting.
In addition to President Carter, speakers will include the following:
- Former Governor Robert D. Ray, J.D. (R-IA), Co-Chair, National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC)
- Former Congressman Paul G. Rogers, J.D. (D-FLA), Co-Chair, NCHC
- Henry E. Simmons, M.D., M.P. H., F.A.C.P, President, NCHC
- Whitney W. Addington, M.D., F.A.C.P., President, American College of Physicians – American Society of Internal Medicine
- Rev. Michael D. Place, STD, President, Catholic Health Association of the United States
- John J. Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO
- David T. Barry, Chairman, Joint Labor Management Committee of The Retail Food Industry – U.S.
- Joseph S. Perkins, President, AARP
- Bob Edgar, General Secretary, The National Council of the Churches Of Christ in the U.S. A.
- Michael M.E. Johns, M.D., Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and Director, R.W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Emory University.
The National Coalition on Health Care is the nation’s largest, most broadly based and non-partisan alliance composed of businesses, unions, and provider, religious and consumer organizations working to improve health care. Coalition members employ and/or represent over 100 million people. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald R. Ford and George Bush are the Coalition’s Honorary Co-Chairmen.
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NOTE: One-on-one interviews can be arranged with speakers for print and electronic media. Text of speakers’ comments are available.
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