Patients, Diversity & Health Care: Letter To President Obama

A group of laughing friends at a restaurant( — Dear Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi, Leader Reid, and Leader McConnell: The National Medical Association (NMA) is the nation’s oldest and largest association of African American physicians, representing over 50,000 physicians and the millions of patients that they serve.

In previous statements, the NMA has insisted that any attempts to balance the federal budget and reduce deficits should not impede access to health care, compromise the quality of care, or increase inequities in health status among underserved populations. As physicians committed to all patients, but with an additional interest in at risk populations, we continue to emphasize our position.

We believe that it would be fiscally “unsound” to attack Medicare and other health programs.

The NMA uniquely understands the need for diversity and inclusion in all aspects of decision making. Therefore, we would strongly urge each of you to include men and women of African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American, or Pacific Islander descent, on the “super committee” created by the Budget Control Act, in order to ensure the most diverse perspective possible in the committee’s deliberations.

The NMA is also hopeful that the super committee will bear in mind the inescapable fact that everyone uses the health care system at some point and has a stake in its future. NMA physicians, as do most physicians, remain committed to caring for Medicare patients and are keenly watching any proposed changes in this program. If reductions in federal spending force providers out of the