09.09.09

Comment On President Obama’s Address On Health Reform Before A Joint Session Of Congress

The President delivered a clear call to the common purpose of achieving real heath reform.  After months of spirited debate and arduous work, Congress needed to hear that.
 
The President laid out the compelling reasons why health reform can wait no longer.  Tens of millions today lack health insurance, workers are losing insurance for their families when they change or lose jobs, and insurance companies can and do discriminate against sick people.  We know this is a system that is unsustainable and that threatens not only our health security but also our economic security.  Doing nothing has been seen as an option before, but it’s no option now.  We have tried doing nothing for years, and the situation has only grown far worse.
 
I hear every day from Vermonters about their struggles to afford health insurance and to pay premiums that are rising by thousands of dollars every year.  I also heard this again and again last month while home in Vermont.  I was pleased to hear the President renew his support for including a public insurance option in health reform.  I strongly support a public insurance option as the surest way to infuse the health insurance marketplace with effective competition and innovation.  Right now about half of the states are dominated by just one health insurer, and that is not effective competition.  The American people deserve better and more-affordable choices.
 
Health care reform must not be undermined or sidelined by partisanship or the inertia of the status quo.  For far too long already, Americans have struggled, as individuals and families, with the ever-rising costs of health care, along with fewer choices and greater uncertainty.  Now is the time for action.
 
I look forward to a productive debate in the Senate in the coming weeks and to passing health insurance reform before the end of the year.

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