Heath Reform that Puts People First

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<p>The health system has to work for the people it is designed to serve, say the authors of a new Commonwealth Fund report that describes the difference comprehensive, integrated health reform would make in the lives of the 116 million working-age adults who are uninsured or underinsured, have medical bill or debt problems, or experience difficulties obtaining needed care. At an event in Washington, D.C., The Commonwealth Fund and Consumers Union will present findings from the report, and three Americans who are currently coping with inadequate health insurance, unaffordable health care costs, and medical debt will be telling their personal stories. </p>
<p>The report, <a href="/publications/fund-reports/2009/jun/front-and-center-ensuring-health-reform-puts-people-first">Front and Center: Ensuring That Health Reform Puts People First,</a> by Karen Davis, Ph.D., Kristof Stremikis, M.P.P., Cathy Schoen, M.S., Sara R. Collins Ph.D., Michelle M. Doty, Ph.D., Sheila D. Rustgi, and Jennifer L. Nicholson, M.P.H., uses the "Path" health reform framework developed by the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System to detail how such reform will affect different groups of Americans, including the uninsured and underinsured, people working in small businesses, and people who buy their insurance in the individual market. </p>
<p>Overall, researchers found that the inclusion of a national health insurance exchange giving patients the option of a public health insurance plan would control premium costs, eliminate wasteful administrative spending, and provide insurance stability to consumers regardless of their income, employment status, or pre-existing health conditions. These reforms will also enable the delivery of safe, accessible, patient-centered care. <br /><br />"We have a historic opportunity this year to move the nation toward a truly high-performing health care system," says Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis. "As the debate about how best to proceed continues, and we hear from stakeholders on all sides, it is imperative that we keep the most important voice—the voice of the patient—front and center." </p>