Senate Democrats

Reid Statement On Growing Outside-The-Beltway Republican Support For Health Insurance Reform

Washington, D.C.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released the following statement today in response to the support for health insurance reform coming from outside the Beltway Republicans:
“I am encouraged that Gov. Schwarzenegger along with former Republican leaders like Sen. Frist, Sen. Dole and Secretary Thompson are putting policy over partisanship. These voices from outside the Beltway join the voices of doctors, nurses, hospitals and the American people to acknowledge that doing nothing is not an option and the cost of inaction is too great to ignore.  

“Unfortunately, too many Senate Republicans endorse a plan where insurers can deny you coverage when you get sick, because you have a pre-existing condition, because you’re a woman or because you’re getting older. They want more of the same and are content with delaying reform that is long overdue.  The issue of ensuring quality health insurance coverage for the American people does not belong to one party, and I hope that the wisdom of these Republicans who have voiced support for reform is not lost upon today’s Republican Party.”

Responsible Reform for the Middle Class

Support for health insurance reform is building – even leading Republicans are publically backing the effort.  Senate Republicans should join their GOP colleagues and stop playing politics with Americans’ health. The Dallas Morning News put it best: “The GOP should put the common good ahead of partisan politics and meet Democrats on grounds of workable compromise. With urgent issues of economic stability and national security confronting America, we cannot afford a vicious duel-to-the-death over health care, compromising the ability of the executive and legislative branches to work together to deal effectively with other crises. What’s good for a particular political party is not the same thing as what’s good for the nation.”


Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Senate Health Insurance Reform: “I’d Vote For It.”  In an interview with Time’s Swampland blog, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist spoke about the Senate health insurance reform legislation. “Were he still in the Senate, ‘I would end up voting for it,’ he said. ‘As leader, I would take heat for it. … That’s what leadership is all about.’”  Frist “strongly supports” many parts of the reform, including “its requirement that individuals be required to purchase coverage, if they do not receive health insurance through their employers or under government programs. And he also lauds the provisions that would eliminate practices that allow insurance companies to discriminate against people based on their health history, including pre-existing conditions.”  [“Swampland,” Time Magazine, 10/2/09]


GOP Governor Schwarzenegger: “Our Principal Goals” Are The Same. In a statement “urging the passage of health care reform at the national level,” Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

said, “Our principal goals, slowing the growth in costs, enhancing the quality of care delivered, improving the lives of individuals, and helping to ensure a strong economic recovery, are the same goals that the president is trying to achieve. I appreciate his partnership with the states and encourage our colleagues on both sides of the political aisle at the national level to move forward and accomplish these vital goals for the American people.” [Statement from Governor Schwarzenegger, New York Times, 10/6/09]


Former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson: “It Is Time For Action.” In a statement, former Bush Administration Secretary of Health and Human Services and former Governor Tommy Thompson said, “Failure to reach an agreement on health reform this year is not an acceptable option. Inaction will only increase the burden of rapidly rising health care costs and care denied for millions of American families. Inaction will increase the crushing burden of rising health costs on American businesses that are struggling to create jobs and lead America’s economic recovery. It is time for action.” [“Live Pulse,” Politico, 10/5/09]


NYC Mayor Bloomberg: “Republicans, Democrats and Independents Can and Should Support” Health Insurance Reform Efforts. In a statement, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “The health reform proposal that Congress will shortly consider is shaping up to merit broad, bipartisan support, incorporating Republican ideas and earning deserved support from Republican leaders such as former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.  The approach has great potential to reduce costs for families, businesses and government at every level over the long term, while extending coverage to many millions of the uninsured and investing in proven, cost-effective public health strategies.  This is an approach that Republicans, Democrats and Independents can and should support.” [Statement from the Office of Mayor Bloomberg, 10/5/09]


Former Medicare, Medicaid Administrator McClellan: Can’t “Miss This Opportunity” to Achieve Reform.  “Mark McClellan, like Thompson a prominent member of President George W. Bush’s administration, also urged lawmakers on Monday to seize the moment. ‘The health-care problems facing this country are urgent and large, and we need to do something about them,’ said McClellan, a former Medicare and Medicaid administrator who is now a fellow at the Brookings Institution. ‘I don’t want to miss this opportunity.’” [Washington Post, 10/6/09]


Former Majority Leaders Baker, Dole Supports Plan With “Basic Elements” of Finance Plan. Former Republican Majority Leaders Howard Baker and Bob Dole helped found the Bipartisan Policy Center and “In June they presented a bipartisan template for a health care overhaul that contains some of the basic elements of the plan now being discussed by the Senate Finance Committee. The plan recommended that all Americans have insurance but contained no public option.”  [New York Times, 9/12/09]