Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Affordable Health Choices Act

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) has announced the Affordable Health Choices Act.

“Our health care system is a crisis for American families and President Obama and members of Congress of both parties recognize the urgency of the problem. Our goal is to strengthen what works and fix what doesn’t. Over the next few days, we will continue working with our Republican colleagues on common sense solutions that reduce skyrocketing health care costs, assure quality care for all and provide affordable health insurance choices. Much work remains, and the coming days and weeks won’t be easy. But we have a unique opportunity to give the American people, at long last, the health care they need and deserve,” said Senator Kennedy, Chariman of HELP.

Earlier this year, Kennedy and Senator Max Baucus, Chairman of the Finance Committee, which shares jurisdiction of health care reform with HELP, established a joint process that will lead to complementary legislation being marked-up next week. The full text of the bill is available here.

The bill is silent on the crucial questions of the employer mandate and a public health insurance option. The HELP bill proposes broader reform measure than expected in the Finance Committee's bill, expected to be released over the next few weeks. This summer is going to be an exciting time for healthcare reform!