Former Senate Majority Leaders Baker, Daschle and Dole Commend Senate Passage of Health Care Bill

Authors of the Bipartisan Policy Center Report Continue to Encourage Joint Leadership on Reform

WASHINGTON, Dec. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle and Bob Dole, members of the Bipartisan Policy Center's (BPC) Advisory Board and Leaders' Project on the State of American Health Care, commend their former Senate colleagues for passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 today.

Senators Baker, Daschle and Dole released their bipartisan plan for comprehensive health care reform, Crossing Our Lines: Working Together to Reform the U.S. Health System, in June after 14 months of negotiations. Their politically-viable framework addresses the delivery, cost, coverage and financing challenges facing our nation's health care system and many of the BPC's report recommendations are included in the Senate bill. These recommendations include:

  • Strong insurance market reforms and new consumer-friendly insurance exchanges: New federal insurance market reforms, like guaranteed issue and elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions, combined with state-based exchanges that improve consumer choice, price transparency, and competition.
  • Refundable tax credits to help make health insurance more affordable: New tax credits to purchase health care coverage for those who need it most, while providing assurance that out-of-pocket premium costs will not overwhelm consumers.
  • Medicaid coverage for the most vulnerable Americans: Very low-income individuals - those who are most difficult to cover in the private insurance market - would be covered by Medicaid.
  • Bold reforms and investments to improve health care quality while controlling costs: Infrastructure improvements, such as health information technology and standardized quality measures, that would help increase the availability of reliable information about health care treatments and providers; payment reforms to reward providers for delivering high-quality, not high-quantity care.
  • An unprecedented commitment to prevention and wellness: A new trust fund to provide support for programs aimed at preventing and better managing chronic illnesses and encouraging Americans to focus on health and wellness; reduced Medicare cost-sharing for preventive care; and, premium discounts for health behaviors.

"I recognize firsthand the challenges presented during this debate from the deliberations on the Leaders' Project," said Senator Daschle. "I encourage my former colleagues, in the House and Senate, to continue to move the process forward and remember that there are a lot of issues members from both parties - Republicans and Democrats - agree on."

"In order to break the political stalemate surrounding this issue and create a health care system that the American people deserve, flexibility from all sides is required," said Jason Grumet, President of the BPC. "The last steps will be the most difficult, but if Congress continues to work together, within and across parties, the outcome will be momentous."

The Leaders' Project on the State of American Health Care was launched in April 2008 with the goal of developing a comprehensive, but achievable set of policies to ensure that all Americans have quality, affordable health insurance coverage, while constraining cost growth, promoting innovative delivery of care, and focusing treatments more on the patient, and not just the illness.

To support the development of their recommendations, Senators Baker, Daschle and Dole sought advice and input from a broad range of health care providers, businesses, labor representatives, state and local policymakers, health plans, academics and consumer advocates through their public policy forums and targeted outreach activities. Ultimately, the Senators' report seeks to establish a constructive center in the often polarized debate about health reform, and to advance a coherent strategy for modernizing the health care system and create a consistent source of health coverage for every American.

For more information or to download a full copy of the report, Crossing Our Lines: Working Together to Reform the U.S. Health System, please visit: www.bipartisanpolicy.org.

About the Bipartisan Policy Center:

In 2007, former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and George Mitchell formed the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) to develop and promote solutions that can attract the public support and political momentum to achieve real progress. The BPC acts as an incubator for policy efforts that engage top political figures, advocates, academics, and business leaders in the art of principled compromise. Currently, the BPC conducts projects in the areas of transportation, health care, energy and climate change, science, and national and homeland security. For more information please visit our website: http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/.

SOURCE Bipartisan Policy Center



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