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SCAI Opposes U.S. House of Representatives Health Reform Bill in Current Form
Date:7/28/2009

WASHINGTON, July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) supports the U.S. House of Representatives' goal of expanding health coverage to a greater number of Americans and reducing health care costs; however, the Society urges the House to make significant revisions to its health reform bill (H.R. 3200) to make quality patient care its first priority and protect patient access to specialists.

Reducing funding to train specialty physicians, combined with further reductions in Medicare payments to specialists, will exacerbate the growing shortage of specialty physicians such as interventional cardiologists, which means patients having life-threatening heart attacks may not have access to physicians who provide life-saving care like angioplasty. The bill's proposed public health plan, based on Medicare, could put patients at risk as a result of greater government controls and restrictions on access to specialty care. Finally, the bill fails to address skyrocketing medical liability costs, which have significantly contributed to the high cost of health care in this country.

Heart disease remains the No. 1 killer in America and the country cannot afford to reduce patient access to the most contemporary, life-saving heart disease care. SCAI supports health reform legislation that:

  • Is patient centered, affordable and equitable
  • Is evidence-based and safe
  • Expands health coverage without expanding government control, nor compromises quality or access to care for Americans currently covered by health insurance
  • Protects patient access to life-saving and life-enhancing care
  • Allows access to emerging medical therapy and devices
  • Encourages quality care through guidelines-driven treatments and outcomes reporting
  • Reduces costs, including the high cost of malpractice insurance

We are concerned that this bill in its current form fails to address both the short- and long-term issues with the health care system. SCAI is strongly supportive of health reform legislation that allows all patients to have access to the most contemporary cardiovascular therapies, where the doctor and patient can work together to determine a most appropriate treatment plan and doctors can deliver the best possible outcomes for patients depending on their individual goals and lifestyles.

SCAI believes comparative effectiveness research is an important component of health care reform but warns against substituting a system that could evolve into one that evaluates treatment options on costs for one that rewards quality of care. To the contrary, SCAI supports a care model that allows doctors to individualize care to optimally meet each patient's unique medical needs.

SCAI supports health care reform and access for all Americans but is concerned that major advances in cardiovascular care will be hindered by the current approach to reform.

SCAI's letter to Congress provides additional detail on the Society's position and is available at http://www.scai.org/pdf/2009July23HealthCareReform.pdf

About SCAI

The mission of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) is to promote excellence in invasive and interventional cardiovascular medicine through physician education and representation, and advancement of quality standards to enhance patient care. SCAI's patient and physician education program, Seconds Count, offers comprehensive information about cardiovascular disease. For more information about SCAI and Seconds Count, visit www.scai.org or www.seconds-count.org.


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