More than 2,400 people have signed an open letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius protesting the Institute of Medicine's recommendations for defining “essential benefits,” which the signers said give more weight to “cost rather than medical need.”
Letter to Sebelius criticizes IOM's 'essential benefits' recommendations
The letter, signed mostly by doctors—including IOM members—and circulated by the Physicians for a National Health Program single-payer advocacy group, also stated that the IOM committee that drafted the report was “riddled with conflicts of interest” as several members had “amassed personal wealth” through association with insurance companies and other for-profit healthcare ventures.
In a statement released after the report was issued, America's Health Insurance Plans President and CEO Karen Ignagni said that a recommendation to reflect the scope of benefits and design under a typical small employer was an “important step toward maintaining affordability.” But the PNHP saw praise by the insurance industry, which, according to the letter, has “sought to undermine real health reform at every turn,” as evidence of the report's bias.
“Our patients urgently need what people in these other nations already enjoy: universal and comprehensive coverage in a nonprofit system that prioritizes human need over corporate profit,” the letter concluded.
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