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NAVIGATION
PNHP RESOURCES

Draft Resolution

American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

WHEREAS 47 million Americans lack health insurance 1, and

WHEREAS the Institute of Medicine estimated in 2002 that the lack of health insurance causes roughly 18,000 unnecessary deaths annually, and the Urban Institute updated their figures to estimate that 137,000 people died from 2000 to 2006 because they lacked health insurance 2 and

WHEREAS another 61 million Americans have inadequate insurance to meet their health care needs in the event of a serious illness 3 and

WHEREAS a lack of adequate insurance prevents many of our patients from obtaining the care they need in a timely fashion, from getting the tests required for diagnosing numerous illnesses, including cancer, and from taking their physician-prescribed medications for treating chronic illnesses such as diabetes and asthma, and obtaining preventive care 4,5,6 and

WHEREAS illness and medical bills contribute to half of all personal bankruptcies, affecting nearly 2 million Americans annually 7 and

WHEREAS existing, skimpy insurance policies are inadequate to protect against financial ruin: 75 percent of those bankrupted by medical bills were insured at the onset of their bankrupting illness 7 and

WHEREAS, the United States spends twice the amount per capita on health care as most industrialized nations which provide universal coverage to all citizens 8, and

WHEREAS one-third (31 percent) of health spending is consumed by unnecessary, wasteful administrative bureaucracy 9 and

WHEREAS wasteful paperwork and bureaucracy severely compromises physicians' ability to practice medicine and

WHEREAS the U.S. could have saved $350 billion on paperwork on 2007 with a single payer system, enough to cover all the uninsured 10 and is the only proposal to effectively control costs going forward and

WHEREAS on July 30, 1965 Congress passed the first Medicare bill, despite numerous warnings about the 'dangers of socialized medicine', and opposition by the AMA, and, Medicare has become one of the most popular and successful Federal programs ensuring access to health care and dignity for this country's senior citizens and permanently disabled American and

WHEREAS the American College of Physicians endorsed single payer as "one pathway" to universal coverage in their January, 2008 position paper based on an evidence-based review of international health systems 11 and

WHEREAS there are 88 co-sponsors for HR 676, the U.S. National Health Insurance Act, introduced by Rep. John Conyers and a large and growing grassroots movement in support of single payer reform, so therefore

BE IT RESOLVED that the ACOEM expresses its support for universal access to comprehensive, affordable, high-quality health care through single payer national health insurance, HR 676.

References:

1. US Census Bureau, "Health Insurance Coverage, 2006".

2. Urban Institute "Updating the IOM Analysis on the Impact of Uninsurance on Mortality" January 2008

3. Families USA "Too Great a Burden: America's Families at Risk" 12/20/07)

4. Testimony of Stephen Finan, Associate Director of Policy, American Cancer Society, April 15, 2008 before the Subcommittee on Health of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

5. Gina Kolata, "Co-payments soar for drugs with high prices" New York Times, April 14, 2008.

6. Institute of Medicine, "Care without Coverage: Too Little, Too Late" (2002).

7. Himmelstein et al, "Illness and Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy," Health Affairs Web Exclusive, February 2, 2005

8. Woolhandler, et al. "Paying for National Health Insurance -- And Not Getting It," Health Affairs 21(4); July / Aug. 2002

9. Woolhandler, et al "Costs of Health Administration in the U.S. and Canada," NEJM 349(8) Sept. 21, 2003

10. Woolhandler, et al "Costs of Health Administration in the U.S. and Canada," NEJM 349(8) Sept. 21, 2003 (figures updated by the authors to 2007) and Proposal of the Physicians' Working Group for Single-Payer National Health Insurance," JAMA 290(6): Aug 30, 2003

11. ACP Position Paper, Annals of Internal Medicine, January 2008.