Who We Are
Our Goals and Purposes
We support policies that put patient interests first and foremost. This focus on the patient will be critical as our health care system evolves over the next several years due to both funding constraints and the laudable effort to insure more of our citizens; make no mistake--meaningful access to quality care in America is largely determined by one's insurance status.
Unfortunately, any changes to our health care system are occurring against a backdrop of severe financial constraints. The Congressional Budget Office has reported that our budget deficit for 2013 was $680 billion; this broke a string of several years of over $1 trillion deficits. Despite these lower overall numbers, outlays for Medicare and Medicaid rose by $11 billion (or 2 percent), and $15 billion (or 6 percent), respectively. Combined outlays for the these programs and for Social Security were equal to more than 9 percent of GDP in 2013.
Even before our recent economic crisis, as our page Federal Realities, makes clear, federal spending on health care was unsustainable. Our recent financial crisis and slow recovery has only worsened a severe preexisting structural problem, only temporarily improved by many provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
In addition, the states are slowly recovering from a near perfect financial storm of their own. Almost all state governments have experienced large drops in revenues over the last few years, and nearly all continue to reduce their Medicaid spending in one way or another. Therefore, neither the federal government through our Medicare program, nor the states through their assorted Medicaid programs will be able to maintain access to care for our citizens, pay for all needed medical services, and continue to reimburse health care providers at current levels within our current system. Reform is inevitable and needed, and we maintain that a reformed system must better serve the needs of our patients--only patient centered reforms can improve both patient health and quality of care while controlling costs.
We, as a society, share the following objectives: we intend to educate our colleagues on the necessity of health care reform; we will push for reforms that improve the quality of patient care and expand the practice of patient centered medicine; we will advocate always for the patient as health care financing changes, and we celebrate the many joys and rewards of being an orthopedist, one of the best jobs on earth.
Our Mandate as American Citizens
The conclusion to the 2009 Message to the Public from our Social Security and Medicare Trustees reads as follows:
" The financial difficulties facing Social Security and Medicare pose serious challenges. For Social Security, the reform options are relatively well understood but the choices are difficult. Medicare is a bigger challenge. Its cost growth can be contained without sacrificing quality of care only if health care cost growth more generally is contained. But despite the difficulties—indeed, because of the difficulties—it is essential that action be taken soon, particularly to control health care costs."