Health Care Reform

Durbin, Doctors Say Health Reform Needed Now

CHICAGO, IL.–(ENEWSPF)–August 2, 2009.  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin stood with Dr. Javette Orgain, the President of the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians, at a press conference today to discuss how health insurance reform will help improve the quality of health care.  Durbin and others in the U.S. Senate are working to pass health insurance reform because skyrocketing costs and burdensome insurance procedures reduce patients’ access to the quality care that every American deserves.

“Doctors who are on the front lines of health care know there are tremendous positive benefits of passing health care reform—for doctors, patients and families; and there are serious negative consequences for failing to act,” said Durbin.  “They witness the effects every day in crowded emergency rooms where the uninsured often go for care, and they see it in patients whose insurance runs out and they are bankrupted by medical care that is needed to save their lives.  Congress must put aside partisanship to deliver health insurance reform for middle class Americans.”

On Thursday, seven prominent national doctors groups representing more than 400,000 physicians and medical students—including Dr. Orgain’s national organization, the American Academy of Family Physicians—released a letter urging Congress to act on health care reform.

In their letter, the doctors wrote: “Some people believe that patients are better off in today’s disorganized insurance market. We believe that the health care our patients receive will be better within a reformed system. As physicians and future physicians, we stand in firm support of the patient-centered changes being outlined in Congress . . . Our patients cannot wait another year, another term, another day.”

The senator pointed out that Illinois families have seen their healthcare premiums jump 73% over the last 8 years. The average annual premium for family coverage in Illinois climbed more than $5,000 from 2000 to 2008 — going from an average $7,200 to today’s average of $12,500. Today 2.5 million Illinoisans – more than 1 out of 5 Illinoisans under the age of 65 – is in a family that must spend more than 10% of its income on health care costs, and another 660,000 spend more than 25% of their income on health care.

“Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field each hold around 41,000 people.  You would have to fill either ballpark 16 times just to get the number of Illinois families that face health care costs of more than 25% of their income,” said Durbin.

Durbin noted that one of the keys to the health care reform now before Congress is fundamentally reforming our health insurance system.  “Reform means that insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because you have a preexisting condition. It means that key preventive care such as regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or vaccinations will be free,” Durbin said. “And it means insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. They won’t be allowed to refuse renewal just because someone became sick.”

Durbin said health care reform will give middle class families in Illinois and across the country stable and secure coverage that cannot be taken away, stable costs that won’t eat away at family paychecks, and better quality care so that patients can get the care they need, when they need it from a doctor they choose.