The chief executives of AARP, Alzheimer's Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association led rallies today—in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada—in support of affordable, quality health care for all Americans. This is the first time these five major advocacy groups have joined forces and they plan to bring their millions of members, volunteers and supporters together to tackle this most pressing issue facing our country today.
AARP CEO Bill Novelli, ACS CAN President Dan Smith and AHA Affiliate President Jon Wahrenberger—and numerous volunteers from the five groups—gathered in Concord for a press conference/rally at the Legislative Office Building. Afterwards the executives and participants boarded a bus to Concord for a series of drop-in visits to the state headquarters of the various Presidential candidates. The groups' advocates called attention to America's health care crisis and directed a critical question to every American—"Are You Covered?"
The groups also presented a joint set of fundamental goals for quality health care:
- Quality health care for all - All Americans deserve effective prevention, treatment and care;
- Health care that's affordable - Getting the health care we need should not bankrupt individuals, families, businesses or society;
- Health care without the "red tape" - All Americans deserve a health care system that provides clear, up-front explanations of costs and benefits, provides the best value for their dollar, and eliminates unnecessary paperwork;
- Health care when and where people need it - All Americans, regardless of their health, deserve adequate coverage that gives them the best available treatment and care in appropriate settings through all life stages and levels of disability.
Through their nonpartisan efforts, the groups intend to increase public awareness about the importance of access to health care and to encourage candidates to address the issues.
"I'm excited to see the power of the patient groups joined with the power of AARP as we work to give all Americans access to quality, affordable health care," said AARP CEO Bill Novelli. "Our organizations have fanned out to the primary and caucus states to bring our message straight to the lawmakers and the presidential candidates and hold them accountable to their voters."
"Our biggest obstacle to eliminating the threat of cancer is not scientific discovery—it is the lack of access to quality cancer care," added American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network President Dan Smith. "ACS and our partners are working to ensure that the country improves access to care so we can make enormous strides against the deadliest chronic diseases."
"We hope that through our collective efforts, public officials understand they can no longer overlook the needs of the millions of Americans at risk for or living with heart disease," said cardiologist and American Heart Association Affiliate President Dr. Jon Wahrenberger.