Washington, DC—U.S. Senators Jack Reed, Debbie Stabenow and Robert Menendez joined Jim Guest of the Consumers Union at a press conference this morning to discuss the urgent need for health insurance reform and Republican support for the status quo.
Democrats have offered a plan to help fix our ailing health-insurance system in a cost-effective manner that will improve health-consumer rights, preserve choice and provide families with greater health-care stability and access to insurance. This plan continues to gain support from former Republican Senate leaders like Bill Frist, Bob Dole, and Howard Baker; as well as Republican leaders outside the Beltway, like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans and special interests continue to advocate the status quo.
“Democrats have put forth a plan to increase competition in the health insurance marketplace and give health consumers more rights, so that individuals and businesses will have a broad choice of insurance policies at more affordable prices. The Republican plan amounts to just say no,” said Senator Reed. “We simply cannot afford to let the special interests kill health insurance reform for another generation.”
“The Republican plan is to say no and maintain the status quo,” said Senator Stabenow. “While they are jeering from the sidelines, instead of working with us, Democrats are focused on making health care stable and affordable for all Americans. We will stop insurance company bureaucrats from making medical decisions for you, stop them from discriminating against you if you have a "pre-existing condition," and stop insurance companies from dropping you if you get sick.”
“More and more mothers and fathers are losing their jobs in this economy as health premiums and profits increase with no guarantee they will have the coverage they need when the need it most,” said Senator Menendez. “While our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are proposing nothing – leaving private, market-driven health insurers to regulate themselves – we are proposing comprehensive health insurance reform that protects consumers. We are here today for all those who are living proof of the statistics, all those who rightfully believe the health and well-being of their family is not a commodity to be sold for maximum profit, but a community responsibility that must be shared by all of us.”
“Too many Americans are just one pink slip away – or one major illness away – from losing their health coverage,” said Consumers Union President Jim Guest. “In our most recent poll, one half of Americans told us that they had faced difficult healthcare choices in the past year, including putting off a doctor’s visit, not being able to afford medical bills, and skipping medications due to cost. This is why we need a solution for health reform this year.”