February 05, 2009

Health Care Reform Bill Reintroduced

Crapo, Wyden, Bennett sponsor Healthy Americans Act

Washington, DC - A bipartisan Senate proposal to reform America's health care policies by expanding market-based health insurance to more Americans was reintroduced today by a coalition of Senators, including Idaho's Mike Crapo. Crapo, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said that the Healthy Americans Act is a strong legislative option for health care reform that will expand coverage to everyone without driving up costs or raising taxes.

"The Healthy Americans Act would guarantee private health care coverage to all Americans," Crapo said today as the bill was reintroduced. "Individuals who are happy with their employer-sponsored health plan have the option to keep their existing coverage. For those who are not currently covered or would like to change their coverage, the bill provides increased choice and portability."

Crapo said the legislation is the first bipartisan, comprehensive health reform bill to receive wide support from more than a dozen Senators on both sides of the aisle. In addition to guaranteeing that every American can afford quality, private health insurance, the plan would: give Americans choice in where they get their health care; modernize the employer-employee relationship to make health care portable from job to job; promote personal responsibility and preventative medicine; and reform the insurance market so that insurers are forced to compete on price, benefits and quality.

The Congressional Budget Office concluded that the Healthy Americans Act could accomplish these goals while remaining budget neutral initially and generating budget surpluses after 2014. "We have carefully crafted this bipartisan bill to retain coverage through the marketplace and offer individual choices in health care," Crapo said. "I believe it would be a mistake to move to a nationalized health care system where costs and taxes could increase sharply."

Crapo's colleagues in neighboring Oregon and Utah, Senators Ron Wyden and Robert Bennett introduced the bill with Crapo last year. Others sponsors include Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Tom Carper (D-Delaware), Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Bill Nelson (D-Florida).