Douglas, Patrick co-host health care forum
48 million Americans. That’s the latest estimate of how many Americans are living without health insurance. President Obama has promised to reduce that number by expanding health care coverage in the U.S. Key players in the reform debate met to do some brainstorming in Burlington, Vermont, today.
Two hours before the forum began, a crowd from all over New England gathered outside the Davis Center at the University of Vermont, seizing an opportunity to send the White House a message about health care.
The event was organized by the Obama administration, hosted by Vermont Governor Jim Douglas and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and intended to create conversation about health care reform.
This is the second of five White House regional forums on health reform. The first was in Michigan and there are three more to come in California, Iowa, and North Carolina in late March and April.
Douglas and Patrick touted steps taken in recent years to bring coverage to 92% of Vermont and 97% of Massachusetts residents, making these two states, they say, models for the rest of the nation.
White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann Deparle says what she heard was urgency, and widespread concern about affordability and accessibility.
Deparle says health care reform is a fiscal imperative that will not be easy and may not be perfect, but is essential in turning this country around.
HERE’S SOMETHING TO INVESTIGATE AND PUBLICIZE
“A new study released this week by a California advocacy group shows that U.S. Sen. Max Baucus has received more campaign contributions from health insurance firms and pharmaceutical manufacturers over the past four years than any other Democrat in Congress.
According to the Consumer Watchdog study (www.consumerwatchdog.org) using Federal Election Commission data, Sen. Baucus has received $413,000 since 2005 from insurance companies and drug makers, third behind U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.”
Sen Max Baucus, who ruled single-payer health reform off the table, is now pressuring the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to favorably judge his health plan as financially sound–even though it isn’t. The CBO issued a series of recent studies which have found that most savings claimed, in the effort to keep private-for-profit insurance companies in the mix, do not exist.
Alternatively, a single-payer system would save more than $350 billion per year, enough to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.
Tell Senator Baucus we need accurate numbers, and that SINGLE-PAYER SHOULD BE ON THE TABLE AND GIVEN A FULL AND FAIR HEARING BY THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE.
Write to Baucus: http://baucus.senate.gov/contact/emailForm.cfm?subj=issue
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