April 04, 2007

Wyden, Feingold: Put Money Where the Reform Is When it Comes to Health Care

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Russ Feingold (D-WI), both members of the Budget Committee, today offered an amendment during consideration of the 2008 budget to create a reserve fund to cover different types of health reform that may be approved during the congressional session.

"There are a wide variety of views about what's needed to fix health care. I have a plan - the Healthy Americans Act - that would provide every American with affordable, private health care coverage equal to what their member of Congress gets for no more than what we're spending today on health care," Wyden said. "My cosponsor, Senator Feingold, has his own ideas about health care reform, as I'm sure every member of the Committee does. The broad language of our amendment accommodates all approaches."

Wyden continued, "In effect, our amendment is a ‘universal coverage' health reform amendment, because it covers every Senator's health reform proposal. Under our amendment, the Senate can have a full debate on health care, where everyone's ideas can be put on the table."

"For too long, Congress has sat on the sidelines while the country's health care crisis has gotten worse," Feingold said. "I was pleased that my colleagues supported this important measure and used the budget resolution as a tool to help move the Senate forward on this necessary and critical debate. I look forward to introducing my own health care plan, the State-Based Health Care Reform Act, that will provide states the tools and flexibility to choose their own way of covering their residents."

The Wyden/Feingold amendment gives an added push to debate health care reform because if reform is approved the dollars could be there to actually fund change, Wyden and Feingold said.

The amendment also makes clear that Congress should not delay ensuring coverage for millions of children who don't have health care today while working on more comprehensive reform efforts. The Senate Budget Resolution also includes a reserve fund to provide up to $50 billion in funding for the State Children Health Insurance Program.