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Health Care for All

RELEASE: Delegation representing 700 state legislators meets with White House, Congress to urge public health insurance option

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.

Priorities for Reform from the Legislative Letter

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.”

Fact Sheet: States Debate, Pass Public Health Insurance Plans

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.

Lawmaker to tell of state success in White House health-care meeting

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.

RELEASE: PSN Lauds passage of CT bills to create option of public health insurance pan

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.” 

State legislators from across nation sign letter to Obama, Congress urging health care reform within the year

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.”

Iowa Advances Health Reform Agenda

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.