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December 16th, 2009
03:46 PM ET

Family doctor is key to reform

In a survey from the Journal of the American Medical Association, 94 percent of patients preferred seeing a primary care doctor first for their medical issues.

In a survey from the Journal of the American Medical Association, 94 percent of patients preferred seeing a primary care doctor first for their medical issues.

Rahul Parikh and Kevin Pho
Special to CNN

America is closer to meaningful health care reform than at any time in its history. As we have all witnessed, finding a way to both provide every American access to affordable health care while seeking to control health care costs has not been easy.

Many of the proposed solutions have led to sharp disagreements, with contention surrounding what role government should play.

One goal all sides can agree on, but have yet to meaningfully address, is the need to end the crisis of primary care in the United States.

Without taking steps to fix it, any attempt at reforming our health system cannot succeed.

Consider that the number of patients without a primary care doctor is estimated to be 60 million, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers. Most patients want their medical care to be consolidated at a single office, provided by clinicians who know them well. In a survey from the Journal of the American Medical Association, 94 percent of patients preferred seeing a primary care doctor first for their medical issues.

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