Date: Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 10:33 AM
Subject: From the Office of Senator Evan Bayh
Thank you for contacting me regarding health care reform. I appreciate hearing your thoughts and understand your concerns.
The rising cost of health care has highlighted the critical need for health care reform. Many individuals and families are unable to receive vital health services under the structure of the current system. I receive letters from constituents on a wide range of health care issues, such as prescription drug affordability, out of pocket health care expenses, and lack of coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Please know that I am aware of these challenges and committed to improving access to affordable health care.
Our current health care system must be improved. The status quo is unacceptable, but that doesn't mean we should just do anything. We must do the right thing. A viable solution must reduce costs to make health care more affordable for the nearly 85 percent of Americans who currently have coverage. Our reforms should also keep insured people from losing coverage and take steps to offer health care to the 15 percent of Americans currently without health insurance.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962). The process for approving health care reform in the Senate calls for merging the bills from the Senate Committee on Finance and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) into a single measure. HELP passed the Affordable Health Choices Act (S. 1679) on July 15, 2009, and Finance passed the America's Healthy Future Act (S. 1796) on October 13, 2009. The merged Senate proposal was offered on November 18th, 2009, and referred to as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
As the Senate begins to debate health care reform, I will be reviewing the bill and looking for solutions that demonstrate a commitment to reducing the federal deficit, job protection, and affordability for Hoosier families. I will continue to do my best to achieve solvent, practical solutions that provide high-quality, affordable health care to as many Americans as possible, while maintaining sound fiscal policy.
Throughout this debate, I have called for a process that fosters openness and transparency for the American people. On October 6, 2009, I co-signed a letter to Senator Harry Reid, along with seven other moderate Democratic senators, that called for the legislative text of the Senate health care bill to be put on the internet for 72 hours before scheduling a vote on the bill. I believe it is important that people like you have a chance to evaluate these policies and communicate your thoughts before we vote on this legislation. You can access the Senate health bill at http://bayh.senate.gov/healthcare and access the entire text of the bill there. The bill was posted online and made viewable to the public at large on November 18, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope the information I have provided has been helpful. My website, http://bayh.senate.gov, can provide additional details about my work in the Senate, including legislation and state projects. You can also sign up for occasional email updates. I value your input and hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues that matter to you.
Office of Senator Evan Bayh
Washington, D.C. 20510