Now is the Time to Take Your Health System Reform Concerns to the Top

Dear NCMS Members:

Without a doubt, the health care reform discussion in Washington is the most pressing public policy debate medicine has seen in the last 15 years. While the outcome is unknown, all legislation is as much process driven as it is policy driven.   Real grassroots action can make a difference.As Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr and your U.S. representatives come home for Congress’ August recess, please contact them and share your hopes and concerns about what we’ve seen and heard from Washington so far this year.  It is especially important that physicians with Democratic representatives take the time to visit with them since the Democrats have majorities in both the House and Senate.

We recently shared with you a letter the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) sent to the NC congressional delegation regarding health care reform legislation.  Our letter specified portions of H.R. 3200 that we think require significant changes to improve our health care system.  In particular, we pointed out our concerns with H.R. 3200 which is the bill promoted by the House Democratic leadership. This is a critical point in the legislative process. The House and Senate must pass the health care reform bills first.  These bills must be negotiated in a joint conference committee.  At this point, we cannot give you an accurate timeline on the process or what will emerge in terms of legislation.  If a final bill is crafted, both chambers must approve it before they submit the single, final bill to President Obama for his signature.  Or veto.Therefore, this is the time for us as health care leaders to remain in this legislative process.  H.R. 3200 is not the final version but a beginning point.  Our challenge is to address the concerns we have with this bill and to help our patients understand its consequences.  Given the urgent timeline, the August recess gives us the perfect opportunity to meet with the North Carolina delegation and tell them what’s important to physicians and our patients.

We will share information with you and continue to ask for your help. Please be sure to track the issue on our Web site, and view the NCMS Guiding Principles for Health System Reform.  In addition, we have a mechanism for you to contact your representatives easily via our web site.  I urge you to visit the Legislative Action Center to take action today. Thank you for your continued dedication to your patients and your profession.


Albert J. Osbahr, MD, President



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