As a physician for over 25 years, I've seen our health care delivery system change in significant ways. Some changes, like medical breakthroughs and prescription drug availability, have been wonderful. Some changes, though, have left patients with less flexibility and higher costs - this is clearly an area in need of improvement. Consequently, I recently introduced H. Res. 876 calling for greater patient empowerment and choice in healthcare decisions. Reforming our health care system is much easier said than done. Of the numerous ideas and proposals out there, we must adhere to fundamental principles as we move forward. The paramount tenet of all healthcare is that medical decisions must be made by patients and their doctors.

HSA's are helping make insurance more affordable while providing appropriate choice and flexibility. Transparency of prices and quality allows patients to be more knowledgeable about personal health care decisions. Expanding the use of health information technology will lower costs, reduce medical errors and improve the quality of care. Reforming our liability system will improve quality care and expand the number of physicians and other healthcare providers, thereby increasing availability of care. Increasing the number of options for obtaining health insurance by small business employers and individuals is a very positive move.

As we move toward an important discussion about health system reform, highlighting these opportunities available to Congress is important - all of which assist patients in gaining access to more responsive healthcare. Many states are implementing exciting proposals to expand insurance coverage and provide greater flexibility of care. We should embrace those possible improvements in our system - always remembering that a healthcare system that is, first and foremost, responsive to patients is a system that will be best for all Americans. H. Res. 876 is an effort to bring light to that simple, yet profound, principle.