Thursday, June 18, 2009

Update on National Health Care Reform Legislation

By Rep. Garnet Coleman - June 17, 2009
For far too long, Americans have been priced out of insurance or turned away from care that is essential to their health. Texas families need legislation that reduces today's astronomical health care costs and makes health insurance affordable to those who do not have it.

As the national debate on health care reform takes center stage, it is important that state legislators share their experiences grappling with these issues with our nation's leaders.

Today, the Progressive States Network, a national group that I co-chair, led a delegation of state leaders to the White House and Congress to deliver a letter urging comprehensive health care reform within the year. The letter, which was signed by over 700 state legislators from 47 states, including 25 from Texas called for any federal reform bill to include strong affordability protections, shared responsibility for health care costs, and the choice of a public health insurance plan that is available to businesses, individuals, and families.

The letter was hand delivered to the White House by state legislators at an afternoon meeting with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy-Ann DeParle, the head of the White House Office on Health Reform.

As state legislators, we've learned what works and doesn't work, and it is important that we share these lessons with our colleagues in the White House and Congress. It's highly encouraging to see that our nation's leaders are interested in incorporating those lessons so we can move forward together to craft a system where everyone is assured quality, affordable health care.

On behalf of the more than 700 legislators who signed this letter, I thank our nation's leaders for their receptiveness and I offer our active collaboration moving forward.

Texas legislators that signed the letter were: Reps. Allen (Houston), Alonzo (Dallas), Anchia (Dallas), Bolton (Austin), Cohen (Houston), Chair Coleman (Houston), Vice-Chair Dukes (Austin), Chair Dunnam (Waco), Farrar (Houston), Chair Gallego (Apline), Hernandez (Houston), Vice-Chair Herrero (Robstown), Hodge (Dallas), Kent (Dallas), Tracy King (Batesville), Vice-Chair Lucio III (Brownsville), Maldonado (Round Rock), Marquez (El Paso), Vice-Chair Naishtat (Austin), Olivo (Rosenberg), Ortiz Jr. (Corpus Christi), Rodriguez (Austin), Veasey (Fort Worth), Walle (Houston), and Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (San Antonio). The letter and full list of legislative signers can be read here.

I will keep you updated on this important issue as it progresses this year.
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