July 07, 2008

Cantwell Co-Sponsors Healthy Americans Act

16 Senators stand behind bipartisan health reform legislation

Washington DC - Bipartisan legislation to guarantee quality, affordable health care for every American gained momentum today as U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Bob Bennett (R-Utah) welcomed U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) as a co-sponsor of the Healthy Americans Act (S.334). The growing list of co-sponsors now totals 16 senators including: U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).

"Senator Cantwell's history working to ensure health care access to families and small businesses makes her an invaluable partner in this effort," said Wyden. "Sixteen Senators signing on to universal health reform legislation is not only historic, it's proof that health reform is possible."

"As we continue to add well respected, bipartisan cosponsors like Senator Cantwell to the Healthy Americans Act we make the case that the Senate is serious about tackling our country's health care crisis," said Bennett. "Providing a sensible and affordable market-driven health care plan for every American is no longer just an idea; it is a goal within our reach."

"With 47 million Americans, and 9 million children, living in this country without health care, the time to step up and take a serious approach to our nation's health care crisis is now," said Cantwell. "During this time of economic uncertainty, the American people are looking to their government to tackle serious issues. The Healthy Americans Act recognizes that our current health care system is broken and that we need to start having a serious discussion about our country's health care priorities. By providing affordable, portable, high-quality health care for virtually every American, the Healthy Americans Act is a step in the right direction."

Introduced by Wyden and Bennett, the Healthy Americans Act is the first bipartisan, comprehensive health reform bill in more than 13 years. 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 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.

After analyzing the Healthy Americans Act, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation released a report that found the Act would be roughly budget neutral in 2014 and found that implementation of the Act would actually create surpluses after that year. Further proof of the bill's financial benefits was provided by an independent analysis conducted by the non-partisan Lewin Group, the gold standard of health care policy analysis. The analysis estimates that even with covering all Americans, the Healthy Americans Act could save more than $1.5 trillion in health care spending over the next 10 years.

In the Senate, the Healthy Americans Act is awaiting action by the Finance Committee. Senator Grassley is the ranking member and Senators Crapo, Stabenow, Smith, Cantwell and Wyden are members of the Committee.

To learn more about S.334 visit http://wyden.senate.gov/haa and http://bennett.senate.gov