Comment On President Obama’s Proposals For Health Care Reform

I am pleased the President remains committed to passing a comprehensive health insurance reform bill that will give millions more Americans access to health insurance, while improving quality and keeping costs down for everyone.  Not only do tens of millions of Americans lack health insurance, but under the current system, insurance companies can actively discriminate against sick people, and American families are driven into bankruptcy every day by medical expenses.  These escalating health costs and the erosion of insurance protection are unsustainable and threaten the health security of everyone. 

Working with Democrats and Republicans, the President has outlined meaningful proposals that bring good ideas from both parties to the table.  The White House proposal includes a system to prevent unfair and excessive premium rate increases through federal and state oversight of the health insurance industry, expansion of coverage to dependent children up to age 26, and employee wellness programs.

The President’s proposal recognizes the importance of introducing choice and competition into the health insurance market.  Last year I introduced legislation to repeal the federal antitrust exemption enjoyed by the health insurance industry.  Surely we can all agree that increasing competition can help reduce costs to consumers.  The House is expected to vote on a similar repeal later this week, and I am committed to working with Senator Reid to ensure that it is signed into law.  I also believe that meaningful reform must include additional choices for consumers by including a public option, and I will continue to push for its inclusion in health care reform.

President Obama has already signaled his support for fighting the scourge of health care fraud, through which billions of dollars are lost every year.  I have also focused the Judiciary Committee’s attention on the issue of health fraud losses, working closely with Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware, and I am pleased that the White House’s proposal includes aggressive measures to crack down on Medicare and health care fraud, which will ultimately save taxpayer money and return hard-earned money to the pockets of struggling American families.

Now is our opportunity to act.  Health care reform is too important to be sidelined by partisan motives.  I look forward to moving ahead on health insurance reform and providing all Americans with access to affordable, high-quality health insurance. 

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