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 AAFP represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).