What they said about the health care reform bill

So, yesterday in our nation’s capital, chairmen of the three House Committees with jurisdiction over health policy introduced comprehensive health care reform legislation that they say will reduce out-of-control costs, encourage competition among insurance plans to improve choices for patients, and expand access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans. Here’s what some of our voices in Congress had to say about it:

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez:

“American families cannot afford for Washington to say ‘no’ once again to comprehensive health care reform. We are proud to introduce legislation that meets the goals articulated by President Obama – to lower costs, preserve choice, and expand access to quality, affordable health care – while strengthening our economic and fiscal health. We will continue to work with our colleagues in the weeks ahead to deliver the fundamental reforms that the American people want, need and deserve.”

House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark, D-Fremont:

“I am proud to join with my colleagues to introduce America’s Affordable Health Choices Act. This bill meets President Obama’s call for health reform that provides coverage for all, promotes delivery system reforms, and controls costs. Our committee will begin markup this week and have a bill for members to approve before the August recess.”

Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

“The introduction of the bill is a positive step towards comprehensive health reform. I am extremely encouraged by the inclusion of a robust public health option, the expansion of prevention and wellness services and programming to better identify and address health disparities.
“Healthcare reform has never been more urgently needed than right now. I applaud President Obama, and our House and Senate leadership for their diligent work on this issue and I look forward to working together with them to pass this much needed legislation.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio:

“During a deep economic recession, it is criminal malpractice for Democrats to push a government takeover of health care and a new small business tax that will destroy more American jobs. After the Democrats’ trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ did not fulfill the Administration’s promises to create jobs immediately, a small business tax will make matters worse for middle-class Americans looking for real solutions to help put them back to work and give them better access to quality health care. Washington cannot afford to make the same mistake now that Democrats made earlier this year on the ‘stimulus.’
“House Republicans have offered a better health care alternative that will reduce costs, expand access, and let Americans who like their plans keep them – all without a job-killing small business tax. The House Democrats’ proposal will force more than 100 million Americans off their current health care plans and move millions of seniors, particularly in rural areas, out of their current coverage and onto the government rolls as a result of deep Medicare cuts. Middle-class families, small businesses, and senior citizens deserve better than what House Democrats have offered. If Democrats are serious about real job creation and true health care reform, they’ll scrap this government takeover and work with Republicans on a plan that helps small businesses create jobs and gives Americans better access to quality care.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Patricia K. Burkhart

    Please do NOT pass this bill. You may have covered all of Americans, but you’ve destroyed what most of us have as a workable system. I have just recently retired and have Medicare as my primary and Senior Advantage with Kaiser as my secondary. It is working very nicely – thank you. Leave it alone. I don’t like the idea that the federal government is getting into our personal lives and dictating what my doctor can and cannot do for me. They are making the decisions – not me and my doctor! Federal Government does not belong in our personal lives. Find a better way to cover those who do not have health insurance. You are about to tax many small businesses out of business – and for your information – that means more loss of jobs. Thank what you are doing! Are you even listening?

  • Anne

    Works for you, maybe, but not for millions of Americans who are not eligible for Medicare.

    Some are like me, who work for small businesses and/or are on contract due to employment cut backs and layoffs, and simply cannot afford the $600 a month health bill to stay insured. Many others who ARE insured, and pay a hefty premium to boot, discover after the fact that the services they end up needing are “not covered” by their private insurer, so they pay both for a premium they never use AND the out of pocket for the service they do need. This is an unworkable system.

    Why are we not seriously considering the possibility of expanding a Medicare payment system to include all Americans as an option? Government universal payment is not the same thing as government-provided care. Then everyone could enjoy the benefits you do – Medicare primary with a Kaiser-like (or other private plan) as secondary….

  • John W

    Having attended a number of health care reform events over the years (mostly nonpartisan in nature), I’m always astonished at the presence of people who are obviously on Medicare but who oppose what they call “socialized,” “government run,” or “single payer” health care. If they are opposed to government involvement in health care, they should turn in their Medicare cards. Although I’m glad we had Medicare for the past 42 years for my and other people’s parents, I suspect we would have made much more progress toward universal health care of some type if, instead of Medicare, we had had 40 million uninsured elderly in addition to the 45 million non-elderly uninsured and millions more underinsured. Programs like Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIPS took the pressure off to create a rational system that works for everybody.

  • Elwood

    If you like the DMV, you’re going to LOVE government health insurance.

  • EdiBirsan

    I would love to be able to get true medical coverage for $600 a month. In March of this year Blue Cross/AKA Anthem raised my rates to $1650 a month.. that’s about 20,000 a year ! I had to crash my coverage down to the very basic: Hit By A Bus and MAYBE your covered to get it down to $1300 a month. The idea of simply taking Medicare and changing the age requirement to -0- has a lot of appeal to it. However what we need is also price reform where maybe there is a single price for the same medical care much like say changing your Oil or car work and the price range does not vary by a MULTIPLE of up to 20 based on your coverage.

  • Anne

    The only thing wrong with the DMV is the wait in line, as far as I can tell.

    Have you ever waited in line for your “private” health insurance to pay? If so, you would see that the real comparison is DMV and the private insurers, who delay reimbursement and settlement of claims for years. To make matters worse, after waiting for the private insurer to “investigate you claim” for months, they manage to find out that the treatment or procedure isnt covered…..

  • danvilledan

    When I retired in 1999 I was paying $329.00 per month for health coverage. When I became Medicare eligible 6 years later I was paying $1,349.00 per month. Now I am on Medicare and paying $625.00 per month for Medicare supplement. The system is broke. Why do people think that we have the best medical system in the world when it is being controlled by big insurance companies.
    We need single payer!

  • AJ

    Because Americans are easily deluded by fantasies of superiority.