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Article Archive >> Senior Life

Who Should Heal Our Health Care System?

Who Should Heal Our Health Care System?

(NewsUSA)- The growing number of Americans without access to medical care has sparked a national outcry and made health care reform a top issue in the 2008 presidential election. Candidates on both sides of the political spectrum are addressing the needs of American families by proposing ideas to reform the current health system.
Sen. John McCain, the Republican candidate, is a proponent of taking steps to deregulate the insurance market, which he believes would provide more insurance options. According to McCain, the resulting competition would drive costs down. He has also proposed a plan that would allow individuals to buy insurance through organizations and associations, making it more affordable for those not covered by an employer.
Democratic candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama would provide a series of affordable insurance options, both public and private. Clinton has proposed insurance mandates that would require everyone to buy health insurance. Both she and Obama would require employers to provide health insurance or pay into a common fund to defray costs.
All three candidates are in favor of tax breaks for low-income Americans and support overturning laws that ban the importation of lower-cost drugs from other countries.
Meanwhile, some medical and health associations are offering further solutions that focus on physician involvement. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) has found-through proven quality outcomes-that health care providers are in a unique position to take responsibility for medical care and value. Since 40 percent of Medicare spending is used to treat heart disease alone, cardiologists have emerged as leaders in innovative health system reform.
In addition to the ACC's data collection and grassroots quality-improvement programs, the College has been active in developing and promoting the national standardization of performance measures and electronic medical data. Comprehensive electronic records and standards ensure coordination across sources and sites of care, further improving patient value. To ensure that practicing cardiologists are educated in the latest scientific advances and have the necessary tools to apply this information to patients in daily practice, the ACC helped create-and continues to update-clinical practice guidelines that focus on quality care.
The bottom line, the ACC says, is that national efforts to overhaul the health care system need to be based on quality improvement, health care provider involvement and partnership with patients. The ACC works to support its members in their efforts to deliver quality care and is expanding upon efforts to influence policymakers to align the health care system in ways that better support the delivery of patient-focused, evidence-based care.

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