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College President testifies on access before Senate

From the November 2000 ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright © 2000 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

ACP­ASIM President Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, FACP, testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Oct. 4 about the health effects of not having insurance.

She told the committee that uninsured Americans are three times more likely than the insured to experience an avoidable hospitalization for diabetes, that the uninsured are more than three times more likely to die in the hospital than the insured, and that uninsured adolescents (ages 10 to 18) are four times more likely to have unmet health needs.

Dr. Fryhofer urged the committee to improve access to health coverage by creating refundable tax credits to expand health coverage for lower income Americans, by expanding Medicaid to cover everyone living at or below the poverty level, and by increasing funding for outreach to encourage eligible children and their families to enroll in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Dr. Fryhofer referred to the recent College report, "No Health Insurance? It's Enough to Make You Sick." The report is part of the College's Decision 2000 campaign to educate policy-makers and political candidates about the importance of access to health care.

As part of that campaign, the College last month ran a 30-second commercial on CNN focusing on the risks of being insured. The commercial emphasized that roughly 80% of Americans without insurance come from working families. It was run during two CNN shows that attract opinion leaders and policy-makers, "Inside Politics" and "Crossfire."

More information on the Decision 2000 Campaign, including a press release on Dr. Fryhofer's testimony, is on the Web at www.acponline.org/uninsured/index.html.

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