The Fight For Health Care Reform Must Continue

As President Obama speaks to Congress and the nation this week in his State of the Union address, I hope he will make clear three important points about health care reform:


  1. When it comes to the need to make good health care affordable, nothing is different today than it was yesterday.
  2. It is imperative that we put a down payment on the promise of health care reform today by passing a health reform bill.
  3. Passing a health reform bill now is just the beginning of health care reform, not the end.

1. When it comes to the need to make good health care affordable, nothing is different today than it was yesterday.


The cost of health insurance and health care keeps rising:


The number of people without insurance keeps growing:


The benefits covered by health insurance keep shrinking:


2. It is imperative that we put a down payment on the promise of health care reform today by passing a health reform bill.


The fight to guarantee everyone access to good affordable health care in the United States has been raging for decades. As the struggle has intensified and been brought to national prominence in the past year, it is essential that we get the ball of reform rolling by passing a bill now and then continuing the hard work of improving it. Otherwise, it might be another decade or two before health care reform is back on the national agenda as happened after Clinton's reform efforts collapsed.

Even the Senate health reform bill, as imperfect as it is, provides important reforms and new regulations that will improve the access of millions of people to the health care they need.


3. Passing a health reform bill now is just the beginning of health care reform, not the end.


The health insurance regulations and premium subsidies included in the Senate bill (PDF) constitute a good start on reform. Passing those reforms would begin to fulfill the promise of health care as a right for all in the United States. But it is just that, a beginning, not an end.

If the Senate bill is passed, the work must continue to ensure all Americans are covered, health care inflation is brought down, quality is improved and we can all afford the health care we need well into the future.

If the Senate bill is passed immediate fixes can be passed through reconciliation in the Senate. These include:

  • Fixing the excise tax.
  • Improving the subsidies for people with low incomes.
  • Making the health insurance exchange national instead of state-based.
  • Adding a public health insurance plan option.

  • Even that is not the end of reform, however. We need to expand comprehensive affordable health care coverage to everyone. We need more payment reforms to improve the quality of care while lowering its cost. We need to educate people on the fact that quality care does not mean getting lots of expensive tests and treatments, but getting the appropriate test and treatment. Many more changes will be needed as we go forward and adjustments will have to be made as reforms are implemented.


    So let the fight continue!

    01-25-10 By Monica Sanchez | Comment (0)

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