Statement Of Principles

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National Coalition on Health Care

Statement of Principles

Founded in 1990, the National Coalition on Health Care is a non-profit, non-partisan organization comprising almost 96 member groups, including corporations, labor unions, small business, and the nation’s major religious, consumer, and health care provider organizations, united in their shared concern about the current state of America’s health care. The Coalition seeks to focus public attention on the problems and inequities inherent in American health care today and to provide people with factual information to enable them to formulate educated opinions and to bring about necessary change. There are one hundred million Americans who are affiliated with the NCHC member organizations.

Five Guiding Principles for America’s Health

Concerned that the problems in the U. S. health care system are growing worse, the members of the National Coalition on Health Care believe that effective and equitable health care system change must address the serious and interrelated issues of rising costs, decreasing insurance coverage and deficiencies in the quality of care. Particularly, NCHC members are committed to the development of a uniquely American health system which addresses these problems and achieves five basic principles:

NCHC believes that these objectives are closely interrelated, so that any successful reform of the American health system must ultimately incorporate them all. Progress towards our goals may of necessity be made in a series of steps, but those steps must be crafted carefully so they move toward our goals and do not set back achievement of our principles. The Coalition will support effective incremental reform and seek opportunities to increase recognition among policy makers and the public that our principles can be fully achieved only in context with one another. For example:

Health Insurance for all is needed to assure quality of care, to improve the health status of Americans, and to enable us to control costs and to simplify the system. It is both an essential social policy goal and a vitally important tool in accomplishing effective cost containment, access to needed care, equitable financing and improvement in quality. As long as large numbers of Americans remain uninsured or underinsured, national health costs will remain unnecessarily high, costs will be shifted, financing inequities will persist, and those without coverage will have difficulty getting quality care. Without coverage, the uninsured receive little preventive care and receive medical attention only when they become seriously ill. And then, they are often treated in a less cost effective setting.

Improved quality of care must be the goal of all health interventions so that we can assure optimal outcomes for the resources expended. Yet our current system too often lacks universally accepted standards of appropriate medical care. Mistreatment, over-treatment and under-treatment are all examples of poor quality care and all adversely affect both outcomes and the costs of care. Even though the cumulative cost of care in the U.S. currently surpasses one trillion dollars annually, sufficient information for informed decisions by consumers, providers, employers, and other interested parties is frequently unavailable. It should be a nationwide priority to correct this deficiency.

Cost containment and equitable financing are critical to attaining a workable, affordable and sustainable health care system. They are also requisites to providing health insurance coverage for all. If the costs of health care can be contained and equitably distributed, necessary health care services will remain within the reach of all employers and individuals. If the costs of health care cannot be contained and equitably distributed, the negative implications and outcomes for our country will be enormous.

Equitable financing is a central requirement of any system which seeks to provide and sustain health insurance for all. Currently, the insured and many employers are forced to pay more than they should in order to compensate for the costs of caring for the uninsured. Cost shifting of this sort has contributed to the deterioration of public support for our current health system and to a drop in employment-based coverage. Universal coverage cannot be achieved or sustained without equitable financing.

Simplified administration is essential to reduce costs and create a more efficient health care system. The excess bureaucracy and administrative expense associated with the present system increase costs unnecessarily. A less complex administrative system will minimize needless costs, be more user-friendly, and enable precious health care dollars to go toward improved health care, not to bureaucracy.

These are the five guiding principles for which the National Coalition on Health Care stands and which are essential for successful reform. We are committed to using every possible opportunity to achieve these goals. If you share these goals “For America’s Health,” or would like to know more about the work of the Coalition, please contact us at:

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