Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

The Kerry Proposal Presented

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

The Kerry Proposal Presented

Article excerpt

John Kerry understands that our health care system faces important challenges and it will require national leadership to meet them.

The number of people who do not have health care coverage is going up, overall health care costs are going up, and the cost of prescription drugs is going up. Sen. Kerry will provide real leadership so we can make reliable, quality health care affordable for all.

More than 44 million Americans do not have health care coverage, and most of them are hardworking people in middle class families. That is a moral shortcoming--and it is also bad economics.

People who do not have health care coverage still receive medical treatment. They just receive it in the wrong place--often the emergency room--and at the wrong time, often after a minor condition has become a major problem.

When that happens, we all pay the cost in increased hospital costs or we pay in taxes for public programs--such as the end-stage renal disease portion of Medicare. That program alone will cost about $20 billion this year and is growing rapidly.

John Kerry has a plan to make sure all Americans have the quality health care coverage they deserve.

Under his plan, the government would pick up 75% of the costs above approximately $50,000 for a catastrophic illness, which would lower a family's health insurance premiums by up to $1,000.

To pay for the plan, Sen. Kerry would roll back President George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. In return, 95% of Americans would have health insurance coverage, including all children.

Our patients' health and the future of our profession depend on getting health care costs under control.

Bureaucratic waste is a major reason for rising costs. Sen. Kerry knows that we can cut this waste by modernizing our health care system and computerizing our medical records.

Unlike many other elected officials, Sen. Kerry understands that this will have both a financial and cultural impact on our profession. That is why he would offer financial incentives to help doctors and hospitals make the transition to electronic medical records.

Together with leaders in our professional organizations, he will work to ensure that these changes are made as fairly and smoothly as possible. …

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