Washington, DC— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin, Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer and Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray joined an independent group of doctors at a press conference this afternoon to discuss how The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will preserve and strengthen the doctor-patient relationship. These doctors are part of a non-partisan group of 55 physicians from 11 states coming to Capitol Hill to urge support for health reform to increase access to care and protect patients’ ability to get the treatment that they need. The Senate reform bill makes quality, accessible health care more affordable.
“These doctors standing with us today know that health reform is about making it possible for every American to enjoy good health,” said Senator Reid. “Americans are dying from diseases we know how to treat, and living in pain because it’s too expensive to ease. Our bill will preserve and strengthen the doctor-patient relationship to ensure that Americans can receive the quality, affordable health care that they deserve.”
Senator Durbin said: “Doctors are spending more and more fighting with insurance companies to determine what the doctor already knows is right for the patient. Our bill takes insurance companies out of the examination room, allowing doctors to do what they do best: practice medicine.”
“This reform bill will not only preserve the doctor-patient relationships, but enhance it,” said Senator Schumer. “It will take the insurance companies out of the equation.”
Senator Murray said: “Some in Congress who have sided with insurance companies to defeat health insurance reform falsely claim that The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would put a government bureaucrat between patients and their doctors. The irony is that there is already a bureaucrat standing between patients and their doctors – an insurance company bureaucrat. Those with insurance are routinely denied needed treatment by insurance companies, and some lose their coverage altogether simply because they get sick. We believe that medical decisions should be made by patients and their doctors, and that is why we support reform.”
“Many physicians, like other citizens, feel ashamed of the poor state of health in our communities,” said Dr. Stacy Lindau. “I want to remind us all that this conversation started at least 75 years ago. How can we look our patients and constituents in the eye and tell them to wait longer? The nature of our democracy is that no bill we be perfect. Surgeons learn that perfect is the enemy of good. Let’s do good, Senators, and deliver service to all the people. Now.”
Dr. Stanley Frencher said: “In this current climate of reform, we have the opportunity to come together to take the first of many steps necessary to fix our broken system. And, that step should be a definitive one. One that moves us toward a system that is coordinated, retains the trusted doctor/patient relationship, focuses on prevention, and—above all else—provides high quality healthcare for us all!”
“All of the physicians here today can share stories of our patients – and we cannot afford to be silent,” said Dr. Cary Gross. “This is because all of us bear witness to the suffering of those unable to afford healthcare. We’re here not only to express our support for health reform, but to clarify our expectations of our senators to pass this legislation – our patients are counting on you. Don’t let them down.”