NASE News

Senate HELP Committee Hears Many Opinions On Health Reform

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions recently held a hearing on health care reform featuring the testimony of numerous witnesses from across the health care sector.

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), sitting in for Committee Chairman Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), stated that health care reform is an urgent issue and “delay is not an option.” On the other hand, Ranking Member Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) cautioned that “if we don’t get [health care reform] right, America will suffer. We shouldn’t be subject just to timetables; we should be subject to getting it right.”

Many of the witnesses before the committee made a point to say that health care is a right, not a privilege just for those who can afford it. Some witnesses also noted their belief in the difference between health insurance and health care, and testified that all Americans need access to the latter.

While witnesses ranged from economists to association representatives to the Insurance Commissioner of Kansas and had many different ideas for health reform, most were opposed to an employer mandate. Some witnesses supported an individual mandate, and most felt that reforms like guaranteed issue and a health insurance connector would most help decrease the number of uninsured Americans. Witnesses also expressed support for health care tax credits (especially for small businesses), and for programs that incentivize healthy behaviors.

Read testimony from the hearing on the committee’s Web site.