The health care reform legislative process is in its final stages now that separate bills have passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate. House and Senate Democrats are working together to combine their bills with the goal of finding amendments and compromises that will allow the same bill to pass both chambers.
Even though some compromises have been made, the health reform legislation is still worth supporting as long as it achieves two key goals:
- Providing health coverage to at least 20-30 million people who currently do not have insurance.
- Putting a structure in place that will regulate insurance companies and end their worst abuses.
Call Representative Mike Capuano at (202) 225-5111 for the DC office or (617) 621-6208 for his district office. He is a strong progressive leader, and we want him to be more public and emphatic about his concerns for the Senate bill. Rep. Capuano is a key leader whom the House and Senate leadership are consulting as they craft the final bill.
During your call, please ask Rep. Capuano to help make the final legislation include more from the House bill than the Senate bill in the following areas:
1. The Exchange & Public Option. The Exchange - to provide a new health care marketplace for individuals and small businesses, the exchange must be national in its scope, as laid out in the House bill, in order to provide enough clout to negotiate reasonable rates and terms. The Public Option - to offer adequate competition and to set appropriate standards in order to prevent insurance companies from continuing to boost their rates and profits astronomically.
2. Subsidies for low and moderate income families. Subsidies are needed for these families to purchase health insurance. The funding and sources to provide this funding are far better in the House bill than the Senate. For example, a family of 3 with an income of $41,000/year would be required to pay an average of $7000 for insurance in the Senate bill as compared with $4866 in the House. In addition, the Senate bill taxes hard-won health benefits of employees, instead of raising fund by levying a small surcharge on the wealthy who make over one million dollars a year, as the House bill lays out. If people are required to have insurance, the insurance must be affordable.
3. Employer mandate. Employers need to be required to do their part in providing adequate health insurance. The House bill requires all but the smallest employers to provide good health benefits or pay into a pool to cover their employees through the Exchange. It also applies standard benefits specifications to all health plans, not just for small groups and individuals. It also mandates that health premiums cannot vary depending on the health status of the person covered. The Senate bill fails on all three counts.