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Public Statements

Issue Position: Health Care

Issue Position


Access to quality, affordable health care is critical to the well being of America, today and in the future. Central to this is addressing the needs of the 46 million uninsured Americans, strengthening the Medicare system, providing health insurance to our low-income children, funding cutting-edge research into cures for diseases, and giving patients the clout to challenge the decisions of health insurers. Only through action on these critical issues can we meet the pressing health care concerns of our nation.

Health Care Reform

In June, the Education and Labor, Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce Committees unveiled their discussion draft for health care reform. The three panels with jurisdiction over health policy in the House have been working together as one committee to develop a single bill that fulfills President Obama's goals of reducing health care costs, protecting and increasing consumers' choices, and guaranteeing access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans.

We know our economy and fiscal future are tied to building on what works in our health care system and fixing what's broken. A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine showed two out of three personal bankruptcies in 2007 were a result of medical debt, even though more than 75% of those bankrupted had private health insurance. Since 1987, the cost of the average family health insurance policy has risen from 7% of median family income to 17%, with small business premiums rising 129% since 2000. Since the recession began, an estimated 4 million additional Americans have lost their health insurance -- and are currently losing coverage at an average of 10,680 workers each day. Without health care reform, health care spending will rise to $4.4 trillion, more than one-fifth of the economy, by 2018 and the number of the uninsured will reach 61 million by 2020.

Here are 12 ways health care reform will help you and your family:

Lower Costs

* No more co-pays or deductibles for preventive care

* An annual cap on your out-of-pocket expenses--no longer driving Americans to financial ruin

* An end to rate increases based on pre-existing conditions, gender, or occupation

* Group purchasing power of a national pool if you have to buy your own plan

* Guaranteed, affordable oral health and vision care for kids

Greater Choice

* Keep your doctor and your plan if you like them

* More plan choices, including a high-quality public health insurance option that would compete with private companies

Stability and Peace of Mind

* An end to coverage denials for pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer

* Get the care you need with an end to lifetime limits

* Job and life choices will no longer be based on health care coverage

Higher Quality

* Doctors--not insurance companies--in charge of health care decisions

* More family doctors and nurses entering the workforce, at better payment rates, helping guarantee your access to quality care

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