Vote Nov. 4 with Uninsured in Mind, AMA Says

It will be up to the 111th Congress and the next U.S. president to reduce the high number of Americans who lack health insurance, the American Medical Association says, and AMA's president, Nancy Nielsen, will try to kick off that action tomorrow in an appearance with two members of Congress who focus on health care: Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, who is a physician.

Neilsen's appearance with the two will take place in a room at the U.S. Capitol. She will unveil new ads that are part of AMA's "Voice for the Uninsured" campaign, and she will urge Americans to vote Nov. 4 for the presidential candidate who will be the best hope for uninsured citizens.

"As the economy weakens, many Americans lose their health insurance with their jobs," AMA said in its posted announcement. "In fact, the most common reason patients have become uninsured since February is because they or someone in their family lost their job. The American Medical Association and bipartisan members of Congress know the time has come for action on the uninsured, and they come together to make a commitment to act in 2009. The group will call on the next President to work with them, and urge Americans to cast their votes in November with the issue of the uninsured in mind.

Wyden was among eight senators who sent a letter in July asking their colleagues John McCain and Barack Obama to start working with them on legislation to reform the nation's health care system next year. The eight are Senate sponsors of the Healthy Americans Act (S.334), which would guarantee that every American can afford quality, private health insurance, sponsors say. The bill would make health care portable from job to job (and continue if the worker loses his or her job) and would reform the insurance market so insurers compete on price, benefits, and quality, they say. The senators' letter is available at http://wyden.senate.gov/issues/Healthy Americans Act/presidents_letter.pdf.

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