If we were doing David Letterman’s Top 10 List of “Important Issues in 2009,” health care reform would be number one. President Obama made the issue the cornerstone of his legislative agenda, and it generated a tremendous outpouring of emotion on both sides of the issue.
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 29 – No 01 – January 2010
ACEP believes that the current system is unacceptable and unsustainable. We have made that clear in testimony before Congress, in our discussions with Bush and Obama administration officials, and in our public outreach efforts.
We have also been very clear that the country needs a strong emergency care system not only for disasters and pandemics, but also for the commonplace emergencies that produce more than 119 million patient visits in our EDs every year.
To ensure that our country has a strong emergency care system, we support comprehensive health care reform that includes:
- Meaningful and affordable health insurance coverage for every American.
- Significant medical liability reform.
- Elimination of boarding admitted patients in emergency departments.
- Development of a national surge capacity plan for a public health crisis or other catastrophe.
In addition to representing emergency medicine in the health care reform debates, we continued to advocate for passage of the “Access to Emergency Medical Services Act” and worked to get various provisions of that legislation included in the bills being discussed in Congress.
We were, and continue to be, serious about tort reform and worked closely with Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) on an amendment providing tort relief for all physicians who provide EMTALA-related care.
2009 was also a busy year for our 911 Legislative Network. ACEP’s grass roots advocacy group grew by 14%, and it tirelessly worked on campaigns to encourage legislators to cosponsor ACEP’s legislation and hold hearings on emergency medicine issues.
Last summer, the College gained ground in the health care reform debate with the release of a survey on the public’s interest and support of emergency care as an essential component of health care reform.
Two-thirds of those polled said the government should increase funding to emergency departments in order to hire more doctors and expand vital lifesaving services. An overwhelming 81% said emergency care benefits should be a part of any government-sponsored health insurance. ACEP will continue to work on the inclusion of emergency care as a benefit in ALL health insurance packages.
ACEP reached another goal last year when our political action committee, NEMPAC, experienced record-breaking fundraising success, moving up the ranks to become the fifth largest medical specialty PAC. Your support of NEMPAC has been phenomenal, and the access it provides has been invaluable in our advocacy efforts.