Caucuses Unite Behind Public Health Insurance Plan Option

For Immediate Release

Progressive Caucus, Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, and Asian and Pacific American Caucus
Contact: 

CAPAC - Gloria Chan - 202-225-2631
CBC - Nicole Williams - 202-226-0323
CHC - Miguel Ayala - 202-225-2410
CPC - Bill Goold - 202-226-4055

Caucuses Unite Behind Public Health Insurance Plan Option

WASHINGTON - In an unprecedented
initiative, the leaders of four prominent groups in the 111th Congress -
the Progressive Caucus (CPC), the Black
Caucus (CBC), the Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and the Asian Pacific American Caucus
(CAPAC)
- have sent a joint letters to President Obama and the Democratic Leadership of the House and Senate stressing that
‘our support for enacting legislation this year to guarantee affordable
health care for all firmly hinges on the inclusion of a robust public health
insurance plan like Medicare.'

Together, one hundred seventeen Members of the House and Senate belong to at
least one of these four congressional caucuses.  Hence, their unity in
pushing for inclusion of a public health insurance plan like Medicare as part
of comprehensive health care reform legislation is a formidable development in
the unfolding policy debate inside and outside of Congress.

"As the debate on health care moves forward, we stand together with one
voice for the communities that most need this reform," said Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Chairwoman
of the 24-Member CHC.  "With one out of every three Hispanics in our
country likely to be uninsured and with so many Latino small business owners,
we have to provide all Americans with the choice of a public health insurance
plan."

"The United States
is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not provide universal
health care," said Congresswoman
Barbara Lee
, Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. "In
a nation with 46 million uninsured individuals, it is time we put in place high
quality comprehensive care for all. As we develop healthcare reform
legislation, a public health insurance plan like Medicare and Medicaid must be
included in order to guarantee equal access to quality affordable healthcare
for everyone."

"The importance of this issue is shown through the unity of the four
caucuses," said Congressman Raúl M.
Grijalva
, Co-Chair of the CPC. "We represent the most
underrepresented communities, in which livelihoods are paralyzed due to health
care being set as a privilege. We stand united to ensure health care is a
right. A right that is fair and guaranteed for all."

"The American people are united in declaring that our health care system
is broken, and that we need to fix it," said Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, Co-Chair of the CPC.
 "With this letter, more than a 100 Members of Congress are sending
a message that we share the public's outrage, and that we are committed
to confronting this problem and developing a health care system that
doesn't leave anyone out.  That's why we need to make certain that
any final healthcare reform legislation includes the option of a public health
insurance plan to ensure that everyone has access to high quality, affordable
care."

"For too long, insurance companies have dictated the quality, quantity,
and accessibility of healthcare to the American people," said Congressman Mike Honda, Chair of
Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). "A robust public
health insurance plan will ensure true competition with those companies that
reap egregious profits, and will present the opportunity to make deep, lasting
changes in our healthcare system. A public plan will also provide a framework
to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in some of the most
underserved communities."

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