April 07, 2008

Wyden: Reform is Needed to Fix America's Broken Health Care System

Wyden Speaks at American Hospital Association Annual Meeting

WASHINGTON, DC - Reaching out to key players in the debate over comprehensive health care reform, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) spoke today at the 2008 American Hospital Association Annual Meeting about the Healthy Americans Act (S. 334), the first bipartisan, comprehensive health reform bill in more than 13 years.

Wyden spoke about the mounting set of problems hospitals face:

"Hospital administrators wrestle with the same huge problems every day: increasing amounts of bad debt, growing numbers of uninsured, and larger amounts of unreimbursed Medicaid expenses. These problems are byproducts of a broken health care system.

"Fourteen Senators - seven Democrats and seven Republicans - have legislation that they believe can remedy these problems. Like the American Hospital Association's Health for Life program, the Healthy Americans Act requires universal coverage, increased subsidies to people who can't afford coverage, comprehensive insurance reform, helping patients to buy ‘value' through comparative effectiveness analysis, and a new, aggressive focus on wellness.

"According to federal law, hospitals must treat patients who are uninsured. Under the Healthy Americans Act, all Americans would have private health insurance at least as good as Members of Congress enjoy. Hospital administrators would be reimbursed for coverage that is now uncompensated and at higher rates."

Introduced by Wyden and Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT), the Healthy Americans Act guarantees that every American can afford quality, private health insurance. In addition, Wyden-Bennett would: give Americans choice in where they get their health care; break the link between employment and insurance 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.

An independent analysis conducted by the Lewin Group estimates that even covering all Americans, the Healthy Americans Act could save more than $1.5 trillion in health care spending over the next 10 years. For more information visit: http://wyden.senate.gov/haa.