Washington, DC — In a letter to President-Elect Barack Obama, the 15 Senate sponsors of the Healthy Americans Act outlined the seven principles they agree should serve as the goal of any reform of the nation’s health care system.
“As former colleagues in the United States Senate, we would like to congratulate you on your election as the 44th President of the United States and offer our commitment to working with you in a bipartisan fashion to reform our health care system,” wrote the group of seven Democrats, seven Republicans and one Independent. “Over the last two years, we have come together as Democrats and Republicans because we believe that for health reform to succeed it must be bipartisan… we believe [these] principles outline the best way to reform the nation’s health care system and create the best “roadmap” to build bipartisan consensus on reform.”
The principles include:
Ensuring that all Americans have health care coverage;
Making health care coverage both affordable and portable;
Implementing strong private insurance market reforms;
Modernizing federal tax rules for health coverage;
Promoting improved disease prevention and wellness activities, as well as better management of chronic illnesses;
Making health care prices and choices more transparent so that consumers and providers can make the best choices for their health and health care dollars; and
Improving the quality and value of health care services.
The letter was signed by: U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bob Bennett (R-Utah), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
Introduced by Wyden and Bennett, the Healthy Americans Act is the first significant piece of bipartisan health reform legislation in the Senate since the days of Harry Truman. In addition to guaranteeing that every American can afford quality, private health insurance, Wyden-Bennett would: give Americans choice in where they get their health care; modernize the employer-employee relationship to make health care portable from job to job (and continue if you lose your job); promote personal responsibility and preventative medicine; and reform the insurance market so that insurers are forced to compete on price, benefits and quality. Recently the Congressional Budget Office concluded that the Healthy Americans Act could accomplish all of this while also generating budget surpluses after the first two years of implementation.