Response From Senator Jack Reed, Rhode Island United States Senator. "Health Care Reform"
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, October 02, 2009 6:09 PM
Subject: Response From Senator Jack Reed
Dear Mr. Julio César Aragón:
Chairman, César Estrada Chávez Comité of RI.
Asociación Social, Cultural y Deportiva Mexicana de RI
Thank you for contacting me regarding health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you.
I share your concerns about the current state of health care in this country. Today, the costs of care and access to care are urgent issues in our state and our nation.
In the face of the current economic crisis, states are struggling to pay for rising health care costs and cope with increasing enrollment in programs like Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). For this reason, I was pleased to support H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which temporarily increased the federal funding match for state Medicaid plans. Additionally, I supported H.R. 2, the CHIP Improvements Act, which preserved health coverage for 6.7 million children and will expand coverage to an additional 4.1 million children, including approximately 12,000 in Rhode Island.
I believe that comprehensive health reform is necessary to ensure long term economic stability. Reforming our health care system is also a crucial element of starting to clear the mountain of debt run up by the Bush Administration. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, I have been actively engaged in drafting common-sense legislation that will provide affordable health coverage options, a cost-effective counter to ever increasing health insurance costs. Most Rhode Islanders are insured through their employers. Health insurance reform will not change that. But people who are uninsured or underinsured will be able to purchase coverage from a menu of options that fit their needs and budget. Every American deserves access to stable coverage that cannot be taken away if they become ill or unemployed.
Julio César, the bill also includes a nonprofit public health insurance option that would be available to all Americans who want and choose that option. This new choice combined with other necessary improvements to our health care system aims to reduce the cost of health insurance for families, businesses, and taxpayers, enhance the quality and coordination of care provided, and invest in preventing illness from occurring in the first place. As one of the earliest proponents of a public health insurance option, I joined my colleagues in sending a letter to the Chairmen of the HELP and Finance Committees in support of such an option for insuring all Americans. I have enclosed a copy of this letter for your review. I am also an original cosponsor of S. Res. 156, which expresses the sense of the Senate that reform of our nation's health care system should include the establishment of a public health insurance option. The inclusion of such an option would keep the insurance companies honest and guarantee a competitive choice for consumers.
You may also be interested to know several of my bills and proposals were included in the health reform bills moving through the HELP and Finance Committees including: comprehensive coverage of and access to immunization for children, adolescents, and adults; a standardized, quantitative format for relaying information to consumers on drug and device labels and advertisements; grants to encourage the co-location of mental and behavioral health services with physical health care services; and programs to enhance the existing health care work force.
No one in this country should be forced to go without health care coverage. You can be assured that I will continue to keep your thoughtful comments in mind as work on health reform legislation progresses.
As always, do not hesitate to contact me if you have further comments or concerns about this or any other matter.
Rhode Island United States Senator
728 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington , DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-4642
Fax: (202) 224-4680