Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today joined a group of centrists Republicans in unveiling a comprehensive health care reform bill that aims to lower costs, increase choices and expand coverage. Lance and other members of the group are hoping key provisions of their bill will be included in the final version of health care reform legislation that will be considered later this summer by the Congress.
Lance said highlights of the Medical Rights and Reform Act include protecting the doctor-patient relationship and the rights of Americans to keep the health care coverage they like - such as employer provided health care. The bill also allows states and small businesses to innovate to help drive down health care costs and enables more people to obtain health insurance and improve the quality of care.
"Any healthcare reform must include a protection for those who like their current health care coverage," said Lance. "This is a top concern I hear every day from New Jersey's working families. And it makes sense. Americans who like their employer provided health care and their current doctors should not be forced into a government-run program."
Lance said the bill includes two key provisions that he helped craft. Lance's first provision seeks to close the so called "Innovation Gap," where public research ends before investors commercialize a promising discovery. Specifically, a public-private partnership would bridge the gap between the National Institutes of Health and biotech companies, universities, patient advocacy organizations, pharmaceutical companies and research institutions to accelerate the deployment of new research into the practice of medicine.
The Innovation Gap provision would establish an Independent Cures Acceleration Network to fund promising discoveries and make grants available to applicants with or without access to private matching funds. This can lead to the development of life-saving cures. The measure is similar to legislation introduced by Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.
"New Jersey's workforce and companies are on the cutting edge of the development of medical treatments and biotechnology," said Lance "We must close the innovation gap and help speed up the process of turning breakthrough discoveries from the laboratory into life-saving treatments."
Lance's second provision included in the bill would allow young people up to age 26, who otherwise might not choose to purchase insurance, to have access to their parents' health insurance. The measure would help reduce the number of the uninsured by at least 7 million.
The legislation includes an innovative program of tax-benefits and funds for states to develop and implement universal access programs to provide greater coverage for the uninsured. The bill also contains provisions that emphasize prevention and wellness, expand options for small businesses and individual purchasers and extend coverage for dependents.
Lance joined Reps. Mark Kirk (IL-10) and Charlie Dent (PA-15) and other members of the moderate Republican caucus known as the "Tuesday Group" in unveiling the legislation.