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MEDICINE RESPONDS TO PRESIDENT CLINTON

 CHICAGO, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by Lonnie R. Bristow, M.D., Chair, Board of Trustees, American Medical Association:
 The American Medical Association, on behalf of its 300,000 member physicians and their patients, welcomes the President's affirmation of many principals the AMA first called for nearly four years ago.
 We disagree, however, with certain of the President's strategies to achieve these commonly shared goals, and we will neither endorse nor oppose the President's preliminary plan in its entirety.
 As we have throughout this process, we will support those provisions that are good for our patients, and work to change those that are wrong for our patients.
 There is no question that the status quo is unacceptable and that responsible and responsive change is urgently needed.
 Access to care for everyone, a comprehensive package of benefits, a mandate that employers provide coverage for employees and a commitment to contain costs are goals the AMA has fought for since 1990, because they are necessary if our patients are to receive the care and security they deserve.
 We are pleased these principles have come to enjoy widespread support and are now considered by the President to be not negotiable.
 But we fear the price controls, overregulation and the new lawyers of bureaucracy the President proposes eventually will limit patient and physician choices, lessen the quality of medical services and undermine the mutual trust between patient and physician.
 And while the President proposes rigid spending limits that would also limit resources for patient care, the plan does not consider adequately other major cost-saving areas like liability and antitrust reform.
 We remain concerned, too, that the means to finance reform, are unclear and the timetable too aggressive. Heavy reliance on cuts in Medicare and Medicaid for financing is an unrealistic, short-term solution that could threaten medical services for the poor and elderly in the future.
 We also fear the President may be creating expectations that cannot be met. Many leading economists warn that if anticipated savings fail to materialize, deep reductions in medical services may follow, thus defeating reform's primary purpose.
 This is just the beginning of the most important domestic debate of our lifetime. Nothing less than the good health and well being of the entire nation is at stake.
 As the debate is joined, we realize the voice of organized medicine will be a critical factor. It is essential that the discussion be constructive, non-partisan and that all the players, public and private, work together to move the country toward the consensus necessary to turn reform into reality.
 We will maintain our dialogue with the Administration, Congressional leaders and Republican and Democratic sponsors of other proposals. We will continue to advocate what is best for our patients and to educate Congress to approve reform legislation that puts our patients first.
 -0- 9/22/93
 /CONTACT: American Medical Association, in Chicago, 312-464-4430, in Washington, 202-789-7447 and in New York, 212-697-2819/


CO: American Medical Association ST: Illinois IN: HEA SU:

TM -- NY108 -- 4981 09/22/93 22:49 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 22, 1993
Words:508
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