WASHINGTON, D.C. - As battle lines are drawn on Capitol Hill in
the coming battle over health care reform, state legislators are taking
on a central role in the debate. Today, at a Capitol Hill press
conference hosted by Sen. Tom Harkin and a White House meeting with
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Director
of the White House Office of Health Care Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle, a
delegation of state legislators organized by the national group
Progressive States Network delivered a letter urging comprehensive
health care reform within the year. The letter, which was signed by 700
legislators from 47 states, called for any federal reform bill to
include a public health insurance option, strong affordability
protections, and shared employer responsibility for health care costs.
The legislative letter states: “The serious problems with health
care in America ”š ever-rising costs, limited access, inconsistent
quality, and waste and inefficiency”š converge in the states. The
effects of these problems stress state budgets, exhaust family
resources, result in lost worker productivity, stifle entrepreneurial
spirit, and literally cause tens of thousands of deaths each year.
Our disjointed health care system has formed a choke-hold on our
economy, limiting job growth and economic development. We cannot fix
the economy without fixing health care.”
While the current debate in DC has focused on the choice of a public health insurance plan, state legislators and health care advocates have already advanced this priority — providing models, debating proposals in state house and communities, and generating public support. State advances on the choice of a public option in Connecticut, in Wisconsin, in state SCHIP and in public employee health plans across the country provide concrete models for comprehensive federal health care reform.
State Sen. Karen Keiser is headed to the Washington, D.C., for the
second time in a little over a month. This time she is adding her voice
to other state lawmakers calling for health care reform.
The Kent Democrat says she will is joining a group at the White House
Wednesday for a meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary
Kathleen Sebelius. Keiser also is attending a related press event with
Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa.
The state lawmakers want passage of health care reform by year's end, and they want a public-insurance option.
NEW YORK - The Progressive States Network warmly applauds the
Connecticut House of Representatives' passage last night of two
landmark bills that would each create the choice of a public health
insurance plan in the state, the Connecticut Health Partnership, and
SustiNet. The votes underscore the growing momentum at the state level
for the choice of a public plan, a priority for reform endorsed by many
health care advocates and lawmakers at the national level.
Said Progressive States Network Senior Health Care Policy Specialist
Adam Thompson, “If lawmakers in the insurance industry capital of the
world can build the political will to pass legislation including the
choice of a public health insurance plan, then surely our leaders in
Washington DC can do the same.”
NEW YORK — Today, the Progressive States Network
(PSN) began publicly circulating an open letter from state legislators
to President Obama and Congress urging them to pass comprehensive
health care reform within the year. The letter has already been signed
by over 100 legislators from 27 states, including 19 health care
committee chairpersons, and is gathering more signatures daily.
The letter maintains that “the private sector alone has proven
incapable of creating a high-quality, fair, and accountable health care
system that works for all families,” and that our “disjointed health
care system has formed a choke-hold on our economy.” The letter calls
for a “robust federal-state collaboration” to deliver Americans “the
choice of a public health insurance plan that is available to
businesses, individuals, and families.”
Prior to last Monday's White House health care forum in Des Moines, Iowa, one of fiveregional forums being held across the country, the Iowa Senate passed two significant
health care reform measures - one symbolic and one substantive.