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The Alabama Voter
Summer 2009 Edition

Published September 13, 2009

2009 League of Women Voters of Alabama

Support Strong Health Care Reform Legislation

America is facing a health care crisis caused by a combination of skyrocketing costs and an insurance system that leaves 47 million of us without any coverage. The current health care system is endangering both our economy and our health, and voters have made it clear that they want change.  Business as usual is not an option.
Congress must take action to pass strong health care reform legislation that guarantees quality, safe and affordable health care to all U.S. residents including the choice of a public insurance plan.  It is universal coverage that will determine the humanity of our system. The legislation must include a benefits package that includes the prevention of disease, health promotion and education, primary care, acute care, long-term care, and mental health care.  In addition, any health care package must include prescription drug coverage and allow for pre-existing conditions.
Legislation must establish a system-wide program to coordinate information, establish best practices and provide consumers the information they need to protect themselves and their families.  It is essential that comparative data on treatments, benefits packages and medical outcomes be made publicly available so that individuals can make informed health decisions and so costs can be controlled.
Cost containment measures must take place in the context of overall health care reform. We must reduce or eliminate the cost-shifting that currently exists in health care financing and work to streamline the system.  Legislation must provide effective cost controls, equitable distribution of services and allow for efficient and economical delivery of care.

To achieve this kind of comprehensive, system-wide reform will take a shared effort by citizens and Congress.
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