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Center for Medicare Advocacy Calls on Congress to Pass Senate's Health Reform Bill in Anticipation of State of the Union

For Immediate Release Contact: Judith Stein, jstein @ January 25, 2010                Center for Medicare Advocacy, ( 860) 456-7790

In anticipation of the President's State of the Union Address on Wednesday, Judith Stein, Center for Medicare Advocacy Executive Director, is calling on Congress to pass the Senate's version of health care reform.

Ms. Stein says, "Now is not the time to retreat, or to insist that the perfect defeat the good.  The Senate bill is not perfect, but it is far better than the status quo."

In the wake of Scott Brown's election to the Massachusetts Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for many years, Ms. Stein answers the question, what would Kennedy do?  She says, "He would push forward to pass the Senate health reform bill."  

She cites Kennedy's memoir, True Compass. "In 1977, Kennedy worked to craft a health plan that would have broad-based support.  Though he personally preferred a single-payer system – where health care providers are paid from a single national fund like Medicare – he knew that such a plan would have been politically impossible to pass. So he advocated for a plan built on private insurance coverage that was mandatory and universal instead.  He persuaded several unions to compromise on their strong commitment to a single-payer system."  

Furthermore, she says, "When President Obama addresses our legislators and the American people on Wednesday, he must urge Congress to pass health reform.  So many have tried and failed in this endeavor.  Now, in 2010, the country is the closest it has been to fixing our broken system; we shouldn't give up.  We literally can't afford to put this off once again."

Ms. Stein supports the Senate's version of healthcare reform because, in her words, "It provides access to health insurance for millions of Americans, provides subsidies to those with limited incomes and resources, improves access to preventive services, and limits discrimination in the offering of health insurance.

Additionally, says Ms. Stein, "the bill protects the integrity of the Medicare program by reducing overpayments to private Medicare plans and by promoting delivery system reforms to encourage high quality, coordinated health care.  The bill further assists people with limited means by extending eligibility for Medicaid for the under 65 population."

Ms. Stein sums up her position by saying, "In the uproar over the Senate race in Massachusetts and all the political talk about the race's implications for passage of this reform, it's easy to lose sight of what's at stake.  The bottom line is we are all human; we all get sick; we all get injured.  But we don't all have health insurance, and that must change.  The Senate's bill is a step in the right direction."

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