AAFP Statement: America Deserves a National Effort to Assure Health Care for All

Monday, September 30, 2002

Statement attributable to:
Warren A. Jones, M.D.
President, AAFP

WASHINGTON  “The Census Bureau’s announcement that the number of uninsured Americans has risen from 39 million a year ago to 41.2 million today comes as no surprise. However, it should be a siren wail for action. The U.S. health care system is increasingly dysfunctional and unresponsive to the needs of our people.

“Thirty-nine million of our friends and neighbors didn’t have health insurance while the economy was booming, and it should be no mystery that more have become uninsured as the economy has faltered. Worrying about the next job is hard enough, worrying about one’s health and the health of one’s family at the same time is an unrealistic burden that none of us should have to bear. Although important steps have been taken in recent years to repair our broken health care system, such as the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, it is becoming increasingly plain that incremental steps are not adequately meeting the health care needs of all in the United States.

“It is time to have a serious national dialogue to find the way to assure health care coverage for all – whether employed, unemployed, too young to work or retired. Good health care should be a basic part of life in the leading democracy of the world. America’s family physicians have already developed a plan to assure such coverage and we are talking to anyone who will listen, raising awareness and sharing ideas. We urge all to join in the conversation.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if one day the Census Bureau announced that they couldn’t count the uninsured because there aren’t any?”

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter,(twitter.com) and like us on Facebook. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).