HCAN! New York

Legislation is under way

Posted on April 23rd, 2009 by David Vigoda

The Senate Finance committee is convening a series of public roundtables on health care reform. Following these public roundtables, the committee will hold a “walk thru” session to draft legislation. This is according to a recent report on the Health Care Reform Blog of the Cancer Action Network, a project of the American Cancer Society.

The committee’s goal is to have health care reform legislation ready for “mark-up” (the process by which a committee reviews and makes changes to a bill before it is sent to the full House or Senate for a vote) by mid-June.

This is why the campaign to make sure reform legislation provides quality affordable health care for all is in full swing. Spearheading the campaign is a national, regional, and local coalition of hundreds of health, advocacy, labor, and community groups called Health Care for America Now (HCAN). You’re on our web site now.

HCAN supports a set of principles to guide health care reform legislation that closely mirrors the President’s campaign proposal. At its core is the public’s ability to choose between a public health insurance plan and private insurance. To ensure quality affordable health care for all, the public and private options would offer comparable coverage. Further, private insurance would be reformed to eliminate current drawbacks, such as exclusions for pre-existing conditions and lack of portability from job to job.

So far 185 legislators in Congress have signed onto the HCAN principles. As Senators, Obama and Biden were also signatories.

Note that a public health insurance plan is a “single payer” plan. Many would prefer to see a single payer plan replace all private insurance. Many others oppose this. The campaign for reform that preserves the consumer’s ability to choose between public and private insurance is a compromise that has widespread support.

But not in the medical insurance industry. With its vast financial, public relations, and lobbying resources, it is also weighing in on health care reform. Its basic strategy is to pretend to favor real reform, while working to water down every proposal it cannot defeat outright.

If you want real reform, now is the time to speak up. There are many ways to get involved. Check out this site for more information and click on a link to join the campaign for quality affordable health care for all… this year.

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