Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Family Doctor for Every Florida Family

Despite having one of the most advanced health care systems in the world, the U.S. consistently shows some of the poorest health outcomes. Although the U.S. spends twice per capita what other major industrialized countries spend on health care, 46 million Americans and nearly 4 million Floridians do not have health insurance.

To change that, State Senator Dave Aronberg (D-Greenacres) on Thursday joined members of the Florida House of Representatives in sponsoring a joint resolution imploring Congress to pass a universal health care measure to lower health care costs for everyone.

“Every family should have a family doctor,” said Sen. Aronberg. “People who work for a living should be able to take their children to the doctor.”

The costs of health care continue to rise faster than income. “Fixing the health care crisis is a critical part of addressing our country’s financial health,” said Sen. Aronberg. “Close to 54% of bankruptcies are a result of medical bills.”

Sen. Aronberg added, “one of every five dollars a family earns goes towards health care. In Florida, we spend $5,500 per person every year for health care, but the doors to doctors’ offices remain closed for many working people,” said Sen. Aronberg. “We need to rethink the way we are providing access to health care. Floridians deserve a better return on this investment.”

Sen. Aronberg points to a troubling trend, further proving that the U.S. health system is on the wrong track. The Common Wealth Foundation has reported that in recent years access to health care has significantly declined. Over the past four years, the number of uninsured or underinsured has increased from 35% to 42%.

“If we kept pace with other industrialized countries, we could prevent up to 101,000 premature deaths in this country due to inadequate or no medical care,” said Sen. Aronberg. “How does the most powerful nation on earth explain to the rest of the world that the health of our people is not a top priority?”

The measure, SM 2642, encourages Congress to pass legislation ensuring every American has access to a doctor. The companion, House Memorial 1061, is sponsored by Representative Joseph Abruzzo (D-Wellington).

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