Doctors For Affordable Health Insurance Reform

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Dozens of doctors with their white coats, nurses uniforms and people with hospital gowns and slippers gathered yesterday at the Beverly Center area to support health reform, focused on affordable universal health insurance coverage. Doctors marched against insurance companies and asked to adopt universal medical coverage, writes Yurina Rico in today's Spanish language Impre.

The proposal HR676, which includes the concept of single payer health insurance system before the Congress, aims to expand Medicare coverage for all United States residents.

"We need a health care reform. We shouldn't be talking about health insurance, rather we need a universal health care," said Dr. Steven Tarzynski, pediatrician and member of the Association of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Dr. Tarzynski explained that if you eliminate health insurance companies from the equation of health care system, it would save 400 billion dollars.

"We want to serve our patients. We need quality medical care that is affordable, as it is with Medicare. Insurance companies can engage in something more secure, not health. Those involved should only be patients, doctors, hospitals and the government as insurer," said Dr. Tarzynski.

According to data provided by the association of doctors, health insurance companies spend on health care only 30 cents for every dollar. The rest is used for administrative costs and profits for big business.

"The single payer system would continue to have public and private hospitals, which would guarantee health care for all people no matter who is the employer or even when person loses his or her job. Since their birth people would have access to medical care, regardless of their income or employment status," explained Dr. Tarzynski.

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Doctors, who protested yesterday in front of the office of Congressman Henry Waxman, called for the legislature to reconsider his position on health insurance and support the single payer initiative HR676.

A study by the Association of Physicians indicates that 59% of doctors are in agreement in regard to the universal health care, while 70% of Americans prefer this type of system as their health insurance.

The initiative, called The United States National Helath Care Act by Representative John Conyers, said it would create a health care system with public financing. "The goal of this legislation is that all Americans have access, guaranteed by law, to health services of the highest quality and in the most cost-effective way, regardless of their job, income and health condition," according to the legislative summary of the bill. This law would make the government negotiate annually with doctors, hospitals, drug makers, providers of medical equipment and supplies.

Glynnis Golden Ortiz, a registered nurse and member of the National Committee of Nurses (CNA), said that nurses in California and across the country support the system of universal health insurance coverage. "We need to make sure that all people are covered. This would help the population and the economy as it would create more jobs," Ortiz said Golden. Under this proposed law, all persons born in the United States with legal documents and residents would receive a card with a personal health insurance coverage. It will not require a social security number to register. People of other nationalities, who are in the country, also would receive a health insurance coverage card. The spirit of the law, according to the legislative analysis, is that health care becomes a human right.

Data from American Journal of Medicine indicate that nationally, 62% of all bankruptcies in 2007 were due to medical expenses. Nearly 92% of them had debts of more than $ 5,000, which equals 10% of household income. Most patients with medical debt were educated, homeowners and some middle-class occupation. Three-quarters had health insurance.

If universal health care does not become federal law, the Association of Physicians is asking that the federal government allowed states to legislate to change the health insurance system in California.

On two occasions, the Congress of California has managed to pass a law that would have allowed this state to have universal health care, but both times it was vetoed by the governor.

California state Senator Gil Cedillo said yesterday to La Opinion that he supports the proposal of total health insurance coverage as a way to fix the health care system. He also said that he would agree that California should have the authority to change or create its own health system in case the reform fails to provide universal coverage. California could save 344 billion in 10 years if it adopted the system of universal care, according to doctors.

By Yurina Rico for Impre

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