July 28, 2008

16 Senators to McCain/Obama: "Work With Us on Health Reform"

WASHINGTON, DC - In a letter sent to U.S. Senators John McCain and Barrack Obama, the 16 Senate sponsors of the Healthy Americans Act (S.334) asked the Presidential candidates today to start working with them on legislation to reform the nation's ailing health care system. Their message: to pass comprehensive health care reform next year, we need to get to work now.

"We believe it is vital that we start working now to ensure that all of our people have high quality care early in the next administration," wrote the bipartisan coalition of 16 senators who are currently sponsoring the Healthy Americans Act. "Like you both, we are deeply committed to avoiding a replay of the bitter, highly polarized health reform effort during the 1990's…We believe that starting with a strong, bipartisan coalition of Senators and a sound fiscal base will allow a reform initiative to survive the assaults of politics and interests that afflict any serious reform proposal."

Comprised of eight Democrats and eight Republicans, Senate co-sponsors of the Healthy Americans Act include: U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bob Bennett (R-Utah), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).

Introduced by Wyden and Bennett, the Healthy Americans Act is the first bipartisan, comprehensive health reform bill to receive such widespread bipartisan support. In addition to guaranteeing that every American can afford quality, private health insurance, Wyden-Bennett would: give Americans choice in where they get their health care; modernize the employer-employee relationship to make health care portable from job to job (and continue if you lose your job); promote personal responsibility and preventative medicine; and reform the insurance market so that insurers are forced to compete on price, benefits and quality. Recently the Congressional Budget Office concluded that the Healthy Americans Act could accomplish all of this while also generating budget surpluses after the first two years of implementation. (Learn more at: http://wyden.senate.gov/haa and http://bennett.senate.gov )

A copy of the Senators' letter is available at: http://wyden.senate.gov/issues/Legislation/Healthy Americans Act/presidents_letter.pdf