In a nation that spends more money on healthcare than any other nation in the world, it is appalling that over 40 million Americans lack comprehensive, affordable healthcare coverage. Even worse, those who can afford health coverage are struggling with ever inflating costs for coverage that often doesn't provide the basics - visits to a doctor's office, dental coverage and hospitalization. For the millions of Americans who have pre-existing conditions or require specialty medical assistance, it's even worse.
I came to Congress to fix these problems. Families shouldn't have to worry about the cost of seeing a doctor if their child has an ear infection, seniors shouldn't have to spend their retirement years figuring out how to finance long-term care, and America's poor shouldn't be forced into an emergency room when they come down with a cold. And those who have health insurance shouldn't face thousands and thousands of dollars in costs for inadequate access and treatment.
To fix this broken system, we must set two compatible goals: covering all Americans, and lowering the cost of the health care. In order to construct a cheaper system of universal care, I believe that the federal government needs to take a much stronger role in our health care system - to cover the presently uninsured and reign in the ineffective and often unfair tactics of private insurers. I am excited to serve on the House Energy and Commerce's Committee' Health Subcommittee where, with the Obama Administration, we will tackle this problem and make sure that every American has access to quality health care.
While broader reform will take time, it is critically important that we continue our efforts to strengthen the federal government's existing health care programs - Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP.
I am particularly proud of the work we have done to expand the SCHIP program to 11 million children who would otherwise be without health care coverage. SCHIP is an outstanding model of how the private and public sectors can work together to deliver comprehensive, quality health care to America's children.
Additionally, I am committed to making sure that the Medicare program is working for America's seniors. I still believe we must address the deficiencies in the Medicare prescription drug program and that is why I sponsored legislation, the Medicare Drug Savings Through Choice Act, which would provide for a public prescription drug plan and allow the federal government to negotiate for better prices.
Addressing America's health care crisis is something that we must face now. Not only is it draining American families of their economic resources, it is putting millions of families and their children at medical risk. I am committed to common sense solutions to solve this problem.