10,000 people sign “Patients over Politics” pledge supporting health reform

My colleagues at Doctors for America have collected 10,000 signatures on a very simple petition:

Declaration to America’s Politicians

We, the undersigned, demand our politicians put Patients Over Politics. We must work together to build on the Affordable Care Act with further reforms and commit to a future where everyone can get health care when they need it.

We believe in an America where everyone has quality, affordable health care and where doctors and the public work together to build a health care system that works for all.

We took a critical first step toward this vision when we passed the Affordable Care Act, a law supported by the largest physician organizations in the country. We must now ensure the Affordable Care Act is implemented so millions of Americans can realize the full promise of the law.

Among those 10,000 signers, one finds some of America’s most distinguished leaders in academic medicine and public health, award-winning health economists, clinicians, and health services researchers. Oh yeah.  I’m on there, too.

Donald Berwick, MD MPP

Former Administrator, Center for Medicare   and Medicaid Services
Former President and CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Howard Hiatt, MD

Former Dean, Harvard School of Public Health

Jonathan Gruber, PhD

Professor of Economics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

David Cutler, PhD

Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics
Harvard University

Linda Rosenstock, MD, MPH

Dean Emeritus, UCLA School of Public Health

Paul Cleary, PhD

Dean, Yale School of Public Health

Jack Lewin, MD

Former CEO, American College of Cardiology

Lori Heim, MD

Past President
American Academy of Family Physicians

Cedric Bright, MD FACP

112th President, National Medical   Association

Morris Brown, MD

Chair Elect, National Medical Association

Nancy Oriol, MD

Dean of Students, Harvard Medical School

Irwin Redlener, MD

Clinical Professor, Mailman School of Public   Health
Columbia University
President, Children’s Health Fund

Linda Fried, MD, MPH

Dean, Columbia University Mailman School of   Public Health

Greg Evans, MPH, PhD

Dean, Georgia Southern College of Public   Health

Donald Burke, MD

Dean, University of Pittsburgh Graduate   School of Public Health

Eli Adashi, MD, MS

Immediate Past Dean of Medicine and   Biological Sciences, Brown University

Harry Selker, MD

Dean, Tufts Clinical and Translational   Science Institute
Tufts University

Mark Henderson, MD

Associate Dean
University of Davis School of Medicine

Molly Cooke, MD

William G. Irwin Endowed Chair
Director of Education for Global Health Sciences
Professor of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco

Jeffrey Levi, PhD

Executive Director, Trust for America’s   Health

Ned Helms, MA

Director, New Hampshire Institute for Policy   and Practice

Valerie Brown

County Supervisor, Sonoma County, California

Judy Norsigian

Executive Director, Our Body, Ourselves

Norbert Goldfield, MD

Medical Director
3M Health Information Systems

Jonathan Oberlander, PhD, MD

Professor of Social Medicine and Health   Policy & Management
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Peter Ubel, MD

John O. Blackburn Professor of Marketing
Fuqua School of Business
Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy
Duke University

Sara Rosenbaum, JD

Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor
School of Public Health and Health Services
George Washington University

Kenneth Warner, PhD, MPhil

Avedis Donabedian Distinguished University Professor of Public Health
Professor of Health Management & Policy
University of Michigan

Lawrence P. Casalino, MD PhD

Livingston Farrand Associate Professor of   Public Health
Chief of the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research
Department of Public Health
Weill Cornell Medical College

Elizabeth Wiley, MD, JD, MPH

President, American Medical Student   Association

Terry O’Neill, JD

President, National Organization for Women

Joanne Tosti-Vasey, PhD

National Board Member, National Organization   for Women

Brian Moench, MD

President, Utah Physicians for a Healthy   Environment

Cynthia Cross, MD

Medical Director, LeBonheur Children’s Hospital

Bill Bentley, MSW

President and CEO, Voices for America’s   Children

Steve Ondra, MD

Senior Vice President and Chief Medical   Officer
Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Vineet Arora, MD, MPP

Assistant Dean for Scholarship and Discovery
University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

S. Balasubramaniam, MD

Past President, American Association of   Physicians of Indian Origin

Joel Alpert, MD

Assistant Dean and Professor Emeritus,   Boston University

Robert Keimowitz, MD

Former Dean, George Washington School of   Medicine

Paul V. Holland, MD

Past President of the International Society   of Blood Transfusion
Member, Nominating Committee for the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology

Dan Morhaim, MD

Maryland State Delegate

Jan Tillisch, MD

Executive Vice Chairman
Department of Medicine
UCLA Medical Center

Nancy Berliner, MD

Chief, Division of Hematology
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Nilesh Kalyanaraman, MD

Vice President of Medicial Affairs
Health Care for the Homeless

Olveen Carrasquillo, MD

Chief, General Medicine
University of Miami

Patrick Lee, MD

Director, Global Primary Care Program
Massachusetts General Hospital

Paul Sinkhorn, MD

Vice-Chairman, Women’s Health
President of the Medical Staff
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center
University of California at Riverside

Paul Moulinie, MD

Chief of Cardiology
Huntington Hospital, NY

Peter DeGolia, MD

Director of Geriatric Medicine
University Hospitals of Cleveland

Philip Pollner, MD

Chair, Delaware Alliance for Health Care

Randy Wertheimer, MD

Chair of Family Medicine
Tufts Medical School

Robert Hatch, MD MPH

Professor and Director of Medical Student   Education
University of Florida

Scott Corlew, MD MPH

Chief Medical Officer
ReSurge International

Susan Spalding, MD

Medical Director
Parkland Health & Hospital System

Tom Ellison, MD PhD

Medical Services Director
Project H.E.L.P. USA
Medical Reserve Corps

Tory Meyer, MD

Division Chief, Pediatric Surgery
Dell Children’s Medical Center

Warren Matthews, MD

Chairman, Department of Family Medicine
Abington Memorial Hospital

Richard Harvey, MD

Chief Public Health Officer, Alpine County,   California

Spencer King, MD MACC

Past President of the American College of   Cardiology

Ralph Brindis, MD, MPH, FACC

Past President of the American College of   Cardiology

David Feinberg, MD, MBA

CEO and President
UCLA Health System

JudyAnn Bigby, MD

Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human   Services
Past President, Society of General Internal Medicine

Kimberlydawn Wisdom, MD, MS

Former Surgeon General, State of Michigan
Senior Vice President of Community Health & Equity and Chief Wellness   Officer
Henry Ford Health System

Gilbert Omenn, MD, PhD

Former Dean, School of Public Health at   University of Washington
Former CEO, University of Michigan Health System

Robert S. Lawrence, MD

Center for a Livable Future Professor
Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Health Policy, and International   Health
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Timothy Jost, JD

Robert L. Willett Family Professor of Law
Washington and Lee School of Law

Len Nichols, PhD, MS, MA

Director, Center for Health Policy Research   and Ethics
George Mason University
Former Director, Health Policy Program
New America Foundation

Michael Grossman, PhD

Distinguished Professor of Economics
City University of New York Graduate Center
Inaugural Recipient of Victor R. Fuchs Award
for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Health Economics
American Society of Health Economists

Philip Nasca, MA, PhD

Dean of the School of Public Health
State University of New York at Albany

Randall P. Ellis, MS, PhD

Professor of Economics, Boston University

Harold Pollack, PhD

Helen Ross Professor at the School of Social   Service Administration
University of Chicago

Howard Forman, MD, MBA

Director of the MD / MBA Program
Yale University

Vivian Ho, PhD

James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health   Economics
Professor of Economics
Rice University
Professor in the Department of Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University

Peter Van de Water, PhD

Senior Fellow, Center for Budget and Policy   Priorities

Alan Monheit, PhD

Professor of Economics
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

L. Toni Lewis, MD

International Vice President, Service   Employees International Union
Chair, SEIU Healthcare

Desmond Runyan, MD, DrPH

Jack and Viki Thompson Professor of   Pediatrics
Executive Director of the Kempe Center
University of Colorado School of Medicine

James P. Evans, MD, PhD

Bryson Distinguished Professor of Genetics   and Medicine
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Don Mathis

President and CEO, Community Action   Partnership

Kathy Majzoub, BSN, MA

Northeast Director of Prevent Blindness   America

Joseph Majzoub, MD

Chairman, Division of Endocrinology
Children’s Hospital of Boston

Barbara Otto

CEO, Health Disability Advocates

Juanita Lynn Taylor, MD

Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Penn State Hershey Medical Center

Warren Siegel, MD, MBA

Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Coney   Island Hospital

John Wong, MD

Chief, Division of Clinical Decision Making
Tufts Medical Center

Michael Bennick, MD, MA

Associate Chief of Medicine
Yale New Haven Hospital

Dennis Davidson, MD, PhD, MDiv

Past President, American Society of   Preventive Cardiology

David Bor, MD

Chair of Medicine
Cambridge Health Alliance

Larry Churchill, PhD

Stahlman Chair of Medical Ethics
Vanderbilt University

Mark Vrahas, MD

Chair of Orthopedic Trauma
Massachusetts General Hospital

Laura J. Esserman, MD MBA

Director, Carol Franc Buck Breast Care   Center
Co-Leader, Breast Oncology Program
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Rick Foster, MD

Senior VP, Quality and Patient Safety
South Carolina Hospital Association

Beverly Neyland, MD

Professor and Interim Chair of Pediatrics
University of Nevada School of Medicine

Col. Katherine Scheirman, MD

Former Chief of Medical Operations, Ramstein   Air Force Base

Gary LeRoy, MD

Associate Dean of Student Affairs and   Admissions
Former Interim VP for Multicultural Affairs and Community Engagement
Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine

Teresa W. Zryd, MD, MSPH, FAAFP

Family Practice Residency Program Director
Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio

Ann Burke, MD, FAAP

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Pediatric Residency Program Director
Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio

Aaron Waxman, MD, PhD

Director, Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Ajoy Kumar, MD, FAAFP

Chair, Department of Family Medicine
Bayfront Medical Center, St. Petersburg, FL

Anne Fabiny, MD

Chief of Geriatrics, Cambridge Health Alliance

David Teitel, MD

Chief, Division of Pediatric Cardiology
Medical Director of the UCSF Pediatric Heart Center

Emalee Flaherty, MD

Section Head, Child Abuse Pediatrics
Lurie Children’s Hospital

Gitte Larsen, MD MPH

Medical Director of Clinical Quality   Improvement
Primary Children’s Medical Center
University of Utah

Jay Gold, MD, JD, MPH

Senior Vice President / Chief Medical   Officer

Juan Dumois

Director, Pediatric Infectious Disease
All Children’s Hospital, St. Petersburg, FL

Kathryn Florio, DO

Co-Director, Neurocritical Care
Sanford / University of South Dakota Medical Center

Kathyrn Brandt, DO MS

Chair, Primary Care
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine

Keith Rafal, MD, MPH

Chief of Rehabilitation and Restorative Care
Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, Brown University

Laura Koenigs, MD

Program Director, Pediatric Residency   Program
Baystate Children’s Hospital

Mark Greenberg, MD

Division Chief, Community Pediatrics
Montefiore Medical Center

Matthew Levy, MD MPH

Division Chief, Community Pediatrics
Georgetown University Hospital

Julian Harris, MD

Massachusetts Medicaid Director

Nancy Hardt, MD

Senior Associate Dean for External Affairs
College of Medicine, University of Florida

Don Nguyen, MD

Director of Pediatric Urology
Dayton Children’s Hospital

Gregory Hayes, MD MPH

Associate Professor of Public Health,   Emeritus
University of Nevada, Reno

Jagat Narula, MD PhD

Philip J. and Harriet L. Goodhart Professor   of Medicine and Cardiology
Associate Dean for Global Health
Mount Sinai Medical Center and School of Medicine


Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

15 thoughts on “10,000 people sign “Patients over Politics” pledge supporting health reform”

  1. If these people truly wanted affordable healthcare for everyone they would be shunning the idea of government involvement. I’ll put it in the language they seem to understand:

    Government is not a warm-fuzzy, its jail, war, police, destruction. There is no civilized place for it in healthcare.

    1. Because healthcare is exactly synonymous with jail & war.

      Sheesh, and the full moon doesn’t arrive for three more days.

    2. Nor, presumably, in the maintenance of roads, sewers, parks, and schools, the provision of civil courts for the settlement of disputes, the advancement of science, the relief of poverty …

  2. These millionaire doctors ought to put their money where their mouth is and donate. Give a kidney, save a life. It’s easy to support socialized medicine from the inner sanctum of a million dollar home.

  3. All things considered, Medicare has worked well. Not perfect, but well. Mercurus is obviously still working and doesn’t need protection from the high costs of medical care. Reaching Medicare age comes none too soon for many of us who are retired and rely on expensive, poor coverage health insurance policies. Tweak Obamacare, remove the wasteful spending in Medicare and raise our taxes to help retirees and the disabled maintain some dignity in their old age. You too will be old one day.

  4. Thank you for standing up and not only supporting the many people who need affordable care, but for ensuring the stability of our health care system. If people truly understood how dangerous it is to ALL of us. I have insurance, but i have already seen one trauma center shut down near my home. ER’s and trauma centers have to take uninsured people are care for them. Not only is it the law, no moral person could allow someone to die due to being poor. But this puts us all at risk. To those who talk against the affordable care act. It does not matter how rich you are or how well insured you are. If all the trauma centers in your area shut down due to too many uninsured patients, and you get in an accident that requires the services only available at a trauma center, you are going to die due to lack of care, just like the poor people. Weather you like it or not hospitals have to continue to be profitable(or at least not loseing money) to stay open. But with so many uninsured it is getting harder and harder.

    The sad truth is the GOP gets more WELFARE than anyone else. MEDICAID is CORPORATE WELFARE. Corporations have an obligation to provide their employees with health care. Instead they rob their employees by keeping them part time, and they depend on Medicaid to provide for the employees and families to cut their costs. If corporations provided insurance for all their employees and families at a reasonable cost, it would cut medicaid by billions. But instead they deny their employees, what they truly have a right to, and force the tax payers like my self to shoulder the cost. That is welfare for the businesses NOT THE PEOPLE. I worked as a Medicaid worker for years. I saw billions of dollars in Medicaid spending going out TO HARD WORKING AMERICANS who worked 1 and sometimes 2 part time min wage jobs. While employers hired two people at part time instead of one at full time, so they would never have to pay insurance and the employees were so poor they had no choice but to apply for assistance. Business just do not want to pay their fair share.

    1. Part time employment is only going to increase when business have to start paying $2,000 per year tax for each full time employee.

      1. The only solution to that is universal health coverage funded through government. It’s the healthcare system that has to be funded, and that only happens when everyone who needs health care is guaranteed to be covered so that health care providers don’t have to hire expensive financial departments to fight insurance companies and collect on bad debts.

        Companies have to pay the cost of their labor, not shift that cost off to the workers themselves the way Walmart does. They are either going to have to pay for health care insurance for their employees or pay a tax to cover the health care costs. Since buying the private insurance means also paying taxes to cover the uninsured while having large sums siphoned off for insurance company executives and investors to waste, the private insurance system will always be more expensive and much less efficient in financing health care delivery.

        The core problem is, in fact, not providing health care to individuals. The core problem is funding the overall system of health care providers on a regular, routine and profitable basis. Private insurance will always skim the most profitable clients off and leave the most expensive patients to die.

  5. Anyone who thinks there is nothing new to be done in managing the delivery of health care needs to look at the Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations which have been initiated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act. These are 32 organizations established across the nation to propose and test new ways to deliver health care across multiple providers and coordinate the care so that patients get the care they need instead of being artificially cut off (released from the hospital early to save money) or prevented from getting care (Humana recently refused to pay for a cancer patient to be sent to MD Anderson Cancer Care Center in Houston because the care there was too expensive.)

    All of the Republican proposals for saving money (HMO’s & PPO’s especiallly) save money by limiting care without regard to the patient outcome. The ACO’s are managed, not by financial managers and insurance companies, but by health care practitioners who are researching best care models of care.

    One big difference between the older financial models and the new health care focused models is that any financial rewards from saving money go to health care providers rather than to financial managers and insurance company executives.

    This is the kind of initiative that the financial manager Mitt Romney wants to eliminate by repealing the Affordable Care Act. Romney understands financial statements. It’s all he’s ever done. We really, really, really do not want him screwing over our health care delivery.

  6. Rick B:

    The very structure of the Shared Savings Program described in 42 U.S.C. 18 raises significant questions as to how patients will fare not the least of which is that it depends upon the Secretary of HHS to establish and monitor standards of care. The ability of CMS to improve the quality of care and its affordability is highly questionable. For proof of this I advise you to read the GAO reports and testimony given concerning CMS’s $8.5 Billion Quality Bonus Payment Program, starting with its March, 2012 report at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-964T. That demonstration injects $8.5 Billion into Medicare Advantage plans, thereby blunting the cuts that would have been made by the Affordable Care Act in 2012. The bulk of the $8.5 million goes to mediocre Medicare Advantage plans (rated 3 stars), which is why I believe that the demonstration should be titled as the “Demonstration of Nothing.” The demonstration was so severely flawed that in March, 2012 the GAO recommended that it be shut down immediately, a recommendation that was repeated again in July and in September. One explanation for why the demonstration was performed in the first place and continued despite the GAO’s repeated recommendations was to hide the benefit cuts made by the Affordable Care Act to Medicare Advantage plans in 2012 from the 13 million seniors holding these plans. Another explanation is that CMS is willfully incompetent. Whatever explanation you pick, does not inspire confidence that HHS or CMS will do anything for the quality of healthcare or its affordability.

    1. Thanks for the reference. Did you notice this line in it? “CMS stated that the demonstration’s research goal is to test whether a scaled bonus structure leads to larger and faster annual quality improvement for plans at various star rating levels compared with what would have occurred under PPACA.”

      The proposed bonus process was a test to determine the effectiveness of the scaled bonus structure. Once gain financial people are trying to use financial incentives to force others to do their bidding, and it’s my opinion that this is not how medicine should be managed. At least saving money or making money should not be the primary goal of delivering health care. This is a test, however, to determine its effectiveness.

      Financial people and insurance people should not be running and controlling health care delivery systems. Physicians should. Insurance, finance and the entire accounting system are tools to accomplish the job of providing health care. The large health care delivery systems today are financial systems which exploit health care to make profits. Look at Florida’s Rick Scott. One result of this focus on making profits (by cutting costs) is to restrict medical judgment using arbitrary policies. An example is a policy that says a patient with a given diagnosis must be released from the hospital after a set period. If he then goes to an extended care facility, gets worse and is readmitted to the hospital the cost to the overall medical system is sky high. But the current payment system pays the hospital for two admissions so the hospital makes money – and so did the extended care system. This could have been avoided by simply trusting the judgment of the physician in the first place and not releasing the patient early.

      Medicare advantage is a private enterprise boondoggle created in the same 2003 law that created part D of Medicare. Private organizations – usually insurance companies – take over all Medicare reimbursed services. They are organized into regions with no region having fewer than 2 MA plans. By using insurance cost control techniques (HMO, PPO) the MA companies are supposed to have lowered the cost of care to less than that paid directly by Medicare. For this the MA companies received an initial bonus of 13% over the cost of the same care provided by traditional Medicare. The program started in 2006 and the MA companies were supposed to lower costs with two to three years to less than Medicare costs.

      Never happened. The MA companies cannot make a profit without a supplement of at least 10% more than Medicare costs. Until CMS was created this kind of boondoggle was not tested, evaluated or reported on. Now it is. And with greater visibility, expect more failures. That is what research is all about – repeated failures until something works. (The authoritarian management of private enterprise makes the managers directly responsible for those failures, so they become successful managers by avoiding transparency and by not measuring success or failure. This is the “freedom” Mitt Romney demands from government. Freedom to never be exposed as a fraud or a failure, and never to have to test the results he promises.)

      One last thing about that GAO report. Note where it was sent. To Darryl Issa’s Committee. One thing I will assure you – nothing touched by Darryl Issa will ever reflect positively on President Obama or on the ACA. You can count on that.

  7. What is not communicated about the “affordable” health care act is the fact that many insurance plans that people already have are “grandfathered” in, meaning they do not have to comply with the new regulations of the plan. In this way, your policy premiums go up and coverage is even more limited than it was before. When inquiries are made of insurance companies about what other little issues may come up, they have NO idea. The response? Contact your government representatives.
    Obamacare is not the answer. The problem is no one has the guts to stand up and actually make the changes that can be made in fear of losing a vote.

Comments are closed.