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Medical Experts and Consumer Groups Support Health Reform Bill

MEDICAL EXPERTS AGREE - THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT SAVES LIVES, SAVES MONEY, SAVES MEDICARE

Outside groups, including well respected voices in the medical community agree - the final version of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act saves lives, saves money and save Medicare.  PPAC helps provide millions of Americans with health insurance coverage, reduces health care costs for American businesses and families and extends the life of Medicare.

American Medical Association Supports PPAC. "On behalf of the American Medical Association (AMA), I am writing to express our support for Senate passage of H.R. 3590, the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," as amended. H.R. 3590 makes important strides toward providing affordable, high-quality health care coverage to all Americans. The AMA firmly supports critical aspects of the bill that expand access to health insurance coverage, reform insurer practices, implement administrative simplifications, and promote wellness and prevention....This is a time of great opportunity for the American health care system. We have the chance to substantially expand health insurance coverage; implement insurance market reforms that promote greater choice, affordability and security; improve the quality of the care; and help ensure Americans live longer, healthier, happier, and more productive lives. To that end, we urge all Senators to support passage of H.R. 3590, the 'Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,' as amended, and look forward to continuing to work with you and your colleagues in the House to resolve outstanding issues during the House-Senate conference." [American Medical Association letter to the Majority Leader, 12/21/09]

American Heart Association Supports PPAC, Believes "the Many Patient-Center Provisions" are a "Significant Step Towards Meaningful Health Reform." "On behalf of the AHA and its American Stroke Association division, we believe that the many patient-centered provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) are a significant step towards meaningful health reform. Therefore, the AHA urges Senate passage of H.R. 3590 and encourages all Senators to support the key procedural votes needed to allow the bill to move forward. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act addresses the AHA's patient-centered principals and priorities for health reform in many respects, particularly in the area of enhancing coverage, emphasizing prevention, and improving the health care delivery system." [American Heart Association letter to the Majority Leader, 12/20/09]

American Hospital Association Supports Passage of PPAC. "On behalf of the 5,000 members of the American Hospital Association (AHA), I am writing to express our support for passage of H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. We look forward to working with you as the bill continues to move through the legislative process. As hospitals, our goal is to ensure universal coverage for health care services.  Like you, we believe that goal is achievable, and your bill moves the nation closer to that goal. We strongly support your approach to increasing competition in the insurance market and providing more choices to patients, utilizing non-governmental, non-profit entities to provide coverage, and rejecting a further expansion of public programs that do not compensate adequately for the cost of care." [American Hospital Association letter to the Majority Leader, 12/20/09]

American Cancer Society Action Network Supports PPAC. "ACS CAN has reviewed the manager's amendment to the underlying legislation from the perspective of a cancer patient.  We believe the legislation will improve the nation's health insurance system by making coverage available and accessible to most Americans, by enhancing the role of prevention and early detection in achieving better health, and by taking steps to improve the quality of life of people who develop serious medical conditions such as cancer.  In addition, we very much appreciate the addition of new language that eliminates caps on annual benefits after 2014, and provides assurance that "access to needed services" will be made available to cancer patients and others with serious medical conditions prior to 2014.  The amended provision represents a major improvement over language contained in the substitute Senate bill, and we are very pleased that it was included in the manager's amendment. We are also very supportive of the new language regarding coverage of clinical trials that will help make them more accessible to patients in need of critical treatment.  Accordingly, we urge the Senate to vote on and pass the legislation without further delay so that House and Senate conferees may begin the process of making final improvements and complete congressional action on the bill." [American Cancer Society Action Network letter to the Majority Leader, 12/20/09]

Federation of American Hospitals Supports PPAC. "On behalf of the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) and our nearly 1,000 investor-owned or managed community hospitals and health systems throughout the United States, I am writing to express our support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590), as amended. This summer, to help achieve health care reform, and contribute to near-universal health coverage for Americans, hospitals agreed to accept substantial reductions in Medicare and Medicaid payments. We are pleased with the progress of health reform as well as the movement towards using market solutions to expand coverage....As President Obama has stressed, the status quo is unacceptable.  It is our belief that H.R. 3590,as amended, will move this country closer to the day when Americans can achieve true health security, knowing that they will have the coverage and care that they need when they need it.  We commend and thank you for your strong and steady leadership in advancing this legislation. We also applaud you as well as Chairman Baucus, Chairman Dodd, Chairman Harkin, and the many other Senators who have worked so hard and so long, and in the best interests of all Americans, to bring us to this pivotal moment." [Federation of American Hospitals letter to the Majority Leader, 12/20/09]

National Puerto Rican Coalition Supports PPAC. In a press release, the National Puerto Rican Coalition announced their support for PPAC. "Saying that 'Hispanics have more at stake in the health care reform debate than any other group simply because we're least likely to be insured,' the new President and CEO of the National Puerto Rican Coalition this morning urged Senators to 'keep working' on getting the required 60 votes necessary for cloture and final passage of the health care reform legislative package being assembled by Majority Leader Harry Reid. 'According to the U.S. Census Bureau, fully one-third of Hispanics have no health insurance, a situation that's existed for at least a decade,' said Miguel Lausell, who was chosen last month to head the 32-year old Coalition. 'That's why Hispanics have five words for those Senators who are tempted to walk away from the President's historic effort: 'By all means, keep working!' Under the President's bold leadership and thanks to the courage and persistent work of Democrats in both the House and Senate, we are closer today than ever before to extending medical care to millions of Hispanics and their children who now don't have it,' Lausell said. Lausell continued, 'instead of walking away from the table, we urge every Senator to redouble his or her own efforts to find common ground so that the legislative process can move forward and the President's principal domestic priority can be achieved.'" [National Puerto Rican Coalition press releases, 12/21/09]

AARP Supports PPAC. "On behalf of our nearly 40 million members, AARP urges you to support cloture on the Manager's Amendment in order to improve the underlying health reform bill, and ensure its timely passage by the Senate. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act protects and strengthens Medicare's guaranteed benefits, and includes smart payment and delivery system reforms to promote care coordination, reduce costly hospital readmissions, and eliminate waste and fraud.  The bill also makes critical insurance market reforms and establishes exchanges to give the uninsured and small businesses access to quality affordable plans.  Importantly, the legislation also offers consumers new tools to help meet their future long-term care needs. The Manager's Amendment builds upon the underlying bill by making insurers more accountable to consumers, protecting choices of doctors, holding down the costs of coverage, and encouraging states to provide long-term care services and supports to people in their homes and communities, rather than in costly institutional settings." [AARP letter, 12/19/09]

Business Roundtable: PPAC "A Step Toward Our Shared Goal of Providing High Quality, Affordable Health Care for All Americans." "On behalf of the members of Business Roundtable, I want to commend you for your efforts to improve the health care reform legislation currently being considered by the United States Senate. The proposed legislation is a step toward our shared goal of providing high quality, affordable health care for all Americans....As we understand it, the proposed legislation will now include provisions to accelerate and enhance the process for delivery reform for the Medicare system as proposed by the Freshmen Democratic Senators.  It strengthens the match between the insurance reforms and the individual obligation.  As important, the amendment allows for the release of the Medicare data to develop cost and quality consumer information....We will continue to work with you, the Congress and the Administration to ensure we achieve the goals we all set when this process began." [Business Roundtable letter, 12/18/09]

American Diabetes Association: PPAC Includes "Long Overdue Improvements to Our Broken Healthcare System." "The progress that has been made thus far has brought us closer than ever to achieving the goals of health reform. Specifically, the bill makes health care more accessible and affordable to the millions of Americans who are currently uninsured and underinsured, including those with diabetes who have been denied coverage or charged exorbitant amounts due to their pre-existing condition.  The bill also includes many important provisions in terms of prevention, insurance reform, and the delivery of quality and affordable health care.  These are but a few of the long overdue improvements to our broken healthcare system. The final Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act must improve our system by maintaining these changes....We urge you to advance the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and look forward to working with you and members of the House of Representatives in Conference to make certain that our country receives a final healthcare package that will make a real and positive difference in the lives of people with diabetes." [American Diabetes Association letter, 12/19/09]

Small Business Majority: Manager's Amendment "Includes New Provisions Essential for Small Business Protection and Survival." "The manager's amendment to the Senate healthcare bill, introduced today, includes new provisions essential for small business protection and survival. It gives small business owners a huge boost and will not only help them afford health insurance for themselves and their employees, but will save small business jobs....With the inclusion of the manager's amendment, it's more important than ever that the Senate vote to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to ensure the continued success of America's 28 million small businesses and the overall health of the nation's economy." [Small Business Majority press release, 12/19/09]

Doctors for America Supports Passage of PPAC. "On behalf of Doctors for America and its 16,000 physician and medical student members across all 50 states who are committed to building a better health care system for our patients, we wish to express our support for Senate passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This landmark piece of legislation provides increased access to affordable health coverage, implements market reforms to protect our patients, invests in the primary care physician workforce and public health system, and begins to reform the payment and delivery systems so doctors can focus on providing high quality care for our patients." [Doctors for America letter to the Majority Leader, 12/19/09]

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Strongly Supports PPAC. "On behalf of hospice and palliative care providers and the more than 1.5 million patients, and their families, served by hospice each year, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) would like to express our strong support for the national effort to enact health care reform. We acknowledge the enormity and complexity of the task facing Congress, and we applaud your recognition of the importance of preserving quality, compassionate and cost efficient end-of-life care as a critical component to the nation's health infrastructure." [National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization letter, 12/19/09]

Families USA: "Families Across America Will Benefit Enormously from the Bill's Extensive Improvements to Our Nation's Health Care System." "Families USA plans to endorse and support the health insurance reform bill we expect you to bring to the Senate floor. We recognize that this bill will constitute a compromise and is the product of your thoughtful and patient efforts to secure the 60 votes needed to pass health insurance reform legislation in the Senate....We believe that families across America will benefit enormously from the bill's extensive improvements to our nation's health care system.  By contrast, the failure to enact health insurance reform would have disastrous consequences for America's families and businesses. The Senate bill will have many commendable features that will provide significant help to America's families. The absence of these improvements-which will happen if we fail to enact reform-will leave us on an unsustainable path of escalating health costs, high premiums, and even more Americans without health security." [Families USA letter, 12/17/09]

AARP: Supports the "Timely Passage" of PPAC. "We appreciate your leadership in developing and advancing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Senate. This bill will strengthen Medicare by eliminating cost barriers to preventive care, reform Medicare's payment and delivery system to promote care coordination, and reduce hospital infections and preventable readmissions. Moreover, through critical insurance market reforms and the establishment of exchanges, this bill will give the uninsured and small business access to quality affordable plans. The legislation also includes important provisions to strengthen home and community-=based care and to assist individuals in saving to meet future long-term care needs....AARP is please to support your efforts to obtain cloture, and urges timely passage of this legislation by the Senate." [AARP letter to the Majority Leader, 12/14/09]

Community Catalyst: Manager's Amendment "Builds on the Strengths of the Bill Through Critical Consumer Protections." "The Manager's amendment released today builds on the strengths of the bill through critical consumer protections such as programs to contain health costs and make insurance policies more affordable, greater accountability from health insurance companies, improved choice and competition, and better access to quality affordable health care for vulnerable populations.  We strongly encourage passage of the bill because we believe it will positively impact the lives of millions of Americans." [Community Catalyst letter, 12/19/09]

US PIRG: Delivery Reforms "Are Game-Changers," Will Lower Health Care Costs. "'The delivery reforms in this bill are game-changers which significantly increase America's chances of reining in skyrocketing health care costs.  The Senate should pass this bill,' said U.S. PIRG Health Care Advocate Larry McNeely. 'Despite enormous opposition from health industry lobbies, Senate leadership has delivered a serious bill that will help lower health care costs,' McNeely said. In recent weeks, U.S. PIRG endorsed an amendment to strengthen cost containment, offered by Democrat Freshmen Senators that was incorporated in the managers' amendment." [US PIRG press release, 12/19/09]

Center for American Progress: Nation "One Major Step Closer" to Passing Reform. In a statement, John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, said, "Thanks in large measure to the leadership of Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Congress and the country are one major step closer to making the passage of comprehensive health reform legislation a reality.  Senator Reid has demonstrated incredible leadership, patience and forbearance throughout this process, and I commend him for his herculean effort in support of enacting meaningful and progressive health care reform." [Center for American Progress press release, 12/19/009]

Medco Health: "Strong Support" for PPAC. "At this critical junction in the national conversation on health reform, I write on behalf of Medco Health Solutions, the nation's leading provider of pharmacy benefits serving the pharmacy needs of 63 million Americans, and our approximately 22,000 employees - including 1700 Nevadans - to express strong support for the Senate healthcare reform legislation you have been championing. All of us share a deep interest in improving health care for all Americans and your bill is meaningful step in that direction....I am also heartened at the significant new investments our nation will make in comparative effectiveness research and health information technology. Both of these investment will help bend the cost curve, but wiring health care is especially vital as it is the linchpin in moving American medicine to a protocol-driven, evidence-based system....I look forward to helping you meet the challenge that is now before us: to seize this historic opportunity to better each and every American life, as well as to better out health care system." [David Snow, Chairman & CEO, Medco Health Solutions, Inc. letter to the Majority Leader, 12/17/09]

Microsoft: "Health Care "Status Quo...is Not Serving the Country Well." "Increased and increasing healthcare costs prompted many of the initial calls for reform, and the need for action persists.  In the information technology sector, rising healthcare costs have increasingly impacted American companies and have made it more costly to create additional American jobs.  The status quo, in short, is not serving the country well. We believe it remains important to pursue legislation that increases healthcare quality and coverage and lowers healthcare costs.  Care is needed to avoid adding unnecessary costs for employers currently providing healthcare coverage.  It therefore remains important to carefully weigh increased costs against benefits, and we remain committed to working with the Administration and Congress to address this challenge.  We also agree, as the Administration and Congress have recognized, that technology is a fundamental pathway to the future success of our nation's healthcare delivery system. With the right framework to promote innovation, technology will help deliver much needed reforms." [Microsoft letter to the Majority and Republican Leaders, 12/18/09]

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