Health Care Reform

Senators on two key committees writing health care reform legislation met Tuesday at the White House with President Obama. The president called on the lawmakers to send him a bill before August, saying, “This is going to be the make-or-break period.  This is the time where we've got to get this done.” The meeting followed the release earlier in the day of a new report that said overhauling the U.S. health care system is a critical component of fixing the economy. Meanwhile, Senators Bernie Sanders, a member of the health committee, and Max Baucus, the Finance Committee chairman, set a meeting Wednesday with leading advocates of a single-payer system.

Sanders’ American Health Security Act would provide every citizen with comprehensive health care coverage through a single-payer program.  With the American public, the single-payer idea is extremely popular. An overwhelming 59 percent say the government should provide national health insurance, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll. But in Washington, Sanders is the single senator for single payer.

Sanders, a member of the Senate health committee, has introduced three major health care proposals.  In addition to the single-payer bill, another would expand the community health center program to provide access to care for every American and help train more health care professionals to serve in underserved regions.  A third bill would authorize five states to move forward on providing universal coverage tailored to their state.

S. 703 American Health Security Act - Establishes a single-payer, state-administered health care system.

S. 898 States Right to Innovate in Health Care Act
- Establishes a pilot program which would allow five states to move forward on providing state-sponsored universal health care coverage.

S. 486 Access for All America Act - Expands the number of Federally Qualified Health Centers from 1,100 to 4,800 to provide access to health care to every American and significantly strengthen the National Health Service Corps to address a serious doctor, dentist and nursing shortage in the United States by expanding provides debt forgiveness and grants for medical and dental students in exchange for practicing in underserved areas.