Future Physicians Urge Congress to Pass a Robust Budget Package
Now is the Time to Invest in Our Nation’s Future!
We are again at a critical moment in our nation’s history. Today, much like the 1960’s when President Johnson called on Congress to establish Medicare and Medicaid, division and controversy abound around health care in our country. There were, and remain, charges of socialized medicine and government-run health care. “It will cost too much, we just can’t afford it.”
Over the last 50 years we’ve seen ups and downs on the path to universal health care in the U.S. We’ve seen amazing discoveries and advancements that helped many through life-shattering illness back to health, while at the same time forcing millions to go bankrupt over medical bills, or go without care and die because they could not pay. We’ve seen the profits of health insurance and pharmaceutical companies sky-rocket, making them among the most profitable corporations in world history. There continues to be deep growth in systems that value profits over people, causing a heart-sickening rise in physician and medical student burnout and suicides.
The good news is, today we again have a President who has called on Congress to take bold action to address the health of our nation and our people. Actions that if passed will move us closer to a health care system that puts people (patients and providers) over profits, and guarantees equitable, affordable, and sustainable health care for all.
AMSA applauds President Biden for putting forth the most progressive budget proposal we have seen in more than a generation. Biden’s Build Back Better agenda includes many proposals that if passed by Congress will make our lives and work as physicians better and easier. More of our patients will live healthier lives and our communities will be healthier places for us all to live.
AMSA urges Congress to be bold in this budget package to invest in our future, protect our patients, and build an equitable and sustainable health care system. Our country needs to be able to negotiate prices on all prescription drugs, like every other developed nation. Medicare should no longer be prohibited from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies for a reasonable cost and we should extend those prices to all Americans.
As Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA) says, “The industry’s unchecked power to set and keep prescription drug prices high
has resulted in one-in-three Americans skipping getting a refill of their prescription,
while one-in-four Americans with diabetes have rationed insulin, risking their lives each time.”
It is past time for Congress to allow pharmaceutical companies to place their profits over the health and well-being of our patients, and charge seniors, disabled people, and taxpayers the highest prices in the world. Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and extending lower prices to all Americans will save hundreds of billions of dollars.
President Biden also provided a framework to expand health coverage by providing dental, vision, and hearing coverage to Medicare, extending the Affordable Care Act subsidies passed in the American Rescue Plan, expanding home care for older and disabled Americans and improve pay for home care workers, and creating a plan to cover the 2 million people who were failed by states refusing to expand Medicaid. Each of these provisions would drastically reduce morbidity and mortality in patients and protect the most vulnerable from medically-induced bankruptcy.
The Build Back Better proposal targets the worsening climate crisis, already devastating our community with the increasing frequency of forest fires ravaging California and worsening severity of hurricanes hitting the south. The proposal sets an important precedent and first step towards reducing carbon emissions. This is far from enough to end or reverse these natural disasters, but is a necessary step Congress can no longer ignore.
The cost of higher education is a barrier far too many face, and a leading impediment to increasing diversity in our health care workforce. These inequities stifle entire communities and hurt patients years down the road by blocking brilliant, passionate future physicians simply because of an inability to pay. A nation’s budget reflects its values; it is vital Congress include provisions to increase Pell Grants, provide tuition-free community college, and investments in HBCUs, tribal colleges and universities, and other minority-serving institutions.
Our job now is to lift our voices to our own Congress members. What will be in that package is still in play. It’s vitally important we contact our Congress members now to let them know now is the time to make historic investments in our people, our nation, and our future.
Congress cannot, and must not, succumb to the wills of companies placing profits over people. It is time to go big — for our patients, our profession, and our future.
We call on AMSA members and alumni to TAKE ACTION now!
Contact your Congress members to urge them to invest in our future. Tell them it’s time for Congress to come together to:
- Lower drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate discounts on all drugs and extend discounts to all of us
- Add vision, hearing, and dental coverage to Medicare
- Close the Medicaid gap, expand home care and improve worker pay
- Lower higher education costs
- Protect health and our environment by tackling climate change
Call your U.S. House Representative & Senators – Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121
Find direct DC office phone numbers, tweet, or email via TweetCongress.org
Don’t delay, voice mail can be left 24/7
Find tips when calling Congress and a short call script here:
AMSA Take Action: Call Congress – It’s Time for Historic Investment!