Leading Health Care Experts Tell House To Pass Senate Health Care Bill

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Nearly four dozen of the nation’s leading health care luminaries–including Jacob Hacker, the man who brought the public option to light–are urging the House of Representatives to pass the Senate health care bill, and quickly pass a separate bill to modify it: an approach favored by some members of Democratic leadership, major unions, and reform advocates.

In a stark message to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and her health care lieutenants–Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Henry Waxman (D-CA), and George Miller (D-CA)–the experts say it’s time for the House to act.

“Both houses of Congress have adopted legislation that would provide health coverage to tens of millions of Americans, begin to control health care costs that seriously threaten our economy, and improve the quality of health care for every American,” reads a letter, obtained by TPMDC. “These bills are imperfect. Yet they represent a huge step forward in creating a more humane, effective, and sustainable health care system for every American. We have come further than we have ever come before. Only two steps remain. The House must adopt the Senate bill, and the President must sign it.”“Some differences between the bills, such as the scope of the tax on high-cost plans and the allocation of premium subsidies, should be repaired through the reconciliation process,” the experts say. “Key elements of this repair enjoy broad support in both houses. Other limitations of the Senate bill can be addressed through other means.”

They also warn of political recriminations if the year-long push for reform falls short.

“Alternatively, Congress can abandon this effort at this critical moment, leaving millions more Americans to become uninsured in the coming years as health care becomes ever less affordable,” the experts say.

Abandoning health care reform–the signature political issue of this administration–would send a message that Democrats are incapable of governing and lead to massive losses in the 2010 election, possibly even in 2012. Such a retreat would also abandon the chance to achieve reforms that millions of Americans across the political spectrum desperately need in these difficult times. Now is the moment for calm and resolute leadership, pressing on toward the goal now within sight.

You can read it in its entirety here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM’s senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he’s led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com

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