The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Carl Rauscher/ 202-225-5161 (Woolsey),
Nicole Williams/ (202) 226-0323 (Lee)

Progressive House Leaders say Key Aspects of House Bill Must Be Included in Health Care Legislation


Progressive leaders Reps. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) released the following statement today about Thursday's vote in the Senate on health care reform legislation:

"Now that the Senate is poised to pass its version of a health care reform bill, it is time to turn to reconciling it with the House legislation.

"For Congress to achieve true health care reform we must have a meaningful conference process that integrates both bills into the best possible piece of legislation for the American people.

"Several key provisions of the House bill must be included in any final bill:

"A public option-If the bill requires people to buy health insurance, there must be a public option to bring down costs by providing lower-cost competition to private insurers and choice to consumers.

"Affordability protections-The legislation must protect lower and middle-income individuals by ensuring that subsidies make coverage affordable and that Medicaid patients have access to primary care physicians.

"Tighter market regulation-New regulations must keep premiums reasonable and end abusive practices. Insurance companies should no longer be exempt from anti-trust laws and any premium increases must be reviewed before they take effect.

"Employer mandates-If individuals are required to buy insurance, employers should be required to provide it.

"Tax surcharges-Health care reform should be financed by tax surcharges on the wealthy not excise taxes on health insurance plans offered to many workers and union members.

"While we still have much work to do, we applaud Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sens. Ben Cardin and Roland Burris for their hard work to ensure that the much need health disparities provision remained in the legislation. Also, we applaud Sen. Bernie Sanders for helping to secure $10 billion more in the revised bill for community health centers.

"We look forward to working with the House and Senate leadership to ensure that the final legislation provides affordable and comprehensive health care to people who need it."